• 2-minute read
  • 14th December 2020

Word Choice: Night vs. Knight

It can be easy to mix up words that sound the same but have different meanings, such as “night” and “knight.” So, how can you avoid errors when using these terms? Check out our tips below to find out.

Night (Hours of Darkness)

“Night” is a noun that refers to the part of any 24-hour period between sunset and dawn (i.e., the part of the day when it is dark). This can include both the late evening and the time most people spend sleeping:

I didn’t sleep well last night.

I spent the night at her house.

What are you doing on Friday night?

I am looking forward to our next night out.

In some senses, then, we can think of “night” as the opposite of “day.”

Knight (Mounted Soldier Wearing Armor)

In a historical context, the noun “knight” refers to a heavily armed soldier on horseback, typically also wearing a suit of metal armor:

The knight charged into battle on his noble steed.

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Nowadays, a “knight” is someone who has served their country with distinction. For instance, the British honours system rewards people for outstanding achievements by making them a “knight” or a “dame.”

To make someone a knight, a king or queen has to “knight” them:

He was knighted for his charity work.

In this case, “knight” is a verb. But whether used as a noun or a verb, this word is always pronounced with a silent “k,” so it sounds the same as “night.”

A knight in armor (or a modern recreation thereof, anyway).
(Photo: Andy Dolman/wikimedia)

Summary: Night or Knight?

These words sound identical, so it’s easy to mix them up. But remember:

  • Night (noun) refers to the time between sunset and dawn.
  • Knight (noun) can refer to either a medieval mounted soldier or someone who has been “knighted” by their monarch. 
  • Knight (verb) means “appoint someone as a knight.”

Keep in mind that a “knight” can be appointed by a “king,” both of which start with “k.” If you’re referring to a person, then, you’ll need the “k” spelling. But if you’re referring to the time of day that is dark, use “night” instead.

And for more help with word choice and spelling, or any other aspect of your writing, why not submit a free 500-word sample for proofreading today?

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