You’re writing a cover letter or a thank you letter. You mention a challenge and say: “This didn’t phase me because…” and then proceed to give your explanation. But wait, should you have said faze or phase?
You might have just fallen into the homophone trap.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this mistake in job seekers’ letters.
Faze and Phase Are Homophones
Homophones are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. They can’t hurt you when you’re talking, but you must be hyper-aware of them when you write because spell checkers won’t catch your errors.
While some readers will forgive you for errors that spell checkers don’t catch, others aren’t so reasonable.
In the example above, if your reader knows the difference between faze and phase, then you’ve just used the Mulligan your readers might or might not give you.
How People Misuse Phase and Faze
As in the example above, I usually see people write “phase” when they should have written “faze.” Proper usage above would have read, “This didn’t faze me because…”
The “phase for faze” thing happens so often I was glad to see that faze is still in the dictionary. Here’s what Google tells us:
How to Use Faze Properly
Here’s what Google tells us about phase:
How to Use Phase Properly
The moon has phases:
Conclusion — Faze or Phase?
Be aware of homophones such as faze and phase (check out another common job seeker homophone fail here).
Ask yourself, “Faze or phase?” If you’re not sure, google the definition of the word you plan to use.
Alternatively, use a different word. Whatever you choose, be careful to ensure proper usage.
Your writing will be more credible, and you will make a better impression, when you use homophones like faze and phase correctly.
If you’ve misused phase, it appears you’re in good company. Check out Eudora Welty’s 1933 cover letter to The New Yorker here.
Updated February 2019
© 2015 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, Smart Brief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.