External or External: How To Spell?

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External or external? Because they have the same sound, the words “external”, written with X, and “sternum”, written with S, generate many spelling doubts. However, their different meanings make it necessary to understand when to use each of these words.

Read too: Agent, us or are there people?

Topics of this article

  • 1 - External or external: what's the difference?
  • 2 - Correct use of “external”
  • 3 - Correct use of the “sternum”
  • 4 - What is “hesternum”?
  • 5 - Related questions: “externar” or “externar”?

External or external: what's the difference?

Both “external”, written with X, and “sternum”, written with S, are words that exist in the Portuguese language, but have different meanings, so they cannot be confused. Despite the very different meanings, “external” and “external” are homophones, that is, have the same sound, which confuses many people.

Correct use of "external"

Exterior of a house showing the correct way to use the word “exterior” with an X.
External environment of a house

The word “external”, with an X, is a adjective referring to everything belonging to the outside of something, someone or somewhere

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. Because it is an adjective, it inflects in gender and number. See some examples:

the set external this equipment is also quite efficient.

The vision external it is very wide.

The parts external of the house are too beautiful!

Do not stop now... There's more after the publicity ;)

Correct use of “sternum”

Graphic representation of the sternum bone showing the correct way to use the word “sternum”, with S.
The sternum is a bone present in the chest.

The word “sternum”, with an S, is a substantive which names a bone that forms part of the thorax. See some examples:

The radiologist detected an irregularity near the sternum.

Do you see this bone? His name is sternum.

See too: Move or move?

What is "hesternal"?

The word “hesternum” is a adjective referring to yesterday or the day before. It is a word very little used in Brazil, but accepted by the standard norm. See some examples:

Some arrangements were made at the meeting hesternal.

At the meeting hesterna, very important topics were discussed.

Related questions: “externar” or “externar”?

Since it is a verb derived from the word “external”, the correct spelling is “external”, with X. The verb externar is synonymous with “exteriorize”, “put out”, “display”, “expose”. See some examples of its use:

He has a lot of trouble externalize your feelings in therapy.

She loves externalize your opinions. Not shy at all.

By Guilherme Viana
Grammar Teacher 

Would you like to reference this text in a school or academic work? Look:

VIANA, William. "External or external?"; Brazil School. Available in: https://brasilescola.uol.com.br/gramatica/externo-ou-esterno.htm. Accessed May 21, 2023.

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Click here and find out if it is correct to write “por do sol”, “por-do-sol”, “por-do-sol” or “sunset”.

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