Choral - chorale - coral
Choral and chorale make a pair of words with a common origin (choir, pronounced 'kwire': a group of singers). Choral and chorale have diverged in pronunciation, grammatical function and meaning, as well as spelling. There is a third word, coral, which has been confused with the other two.
- choral is an adjective. It is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, and rhymes with 'oral' - 'COH-rel', IPA: /'kɔː rəl/. It means 'to do with choirs' or 'sung by a group'. It is most usually found with nouns to do with 'music': 'The concert will have both choral and instrumental items.'
- chorale is a noun, pronounced with the stress on the last syllable - 'cer-AHL', IPA: /kə (or ɒ) 'rɑːl/. It is the name for a piece of music, one to be sung by massed voices. '"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" is a chorale by J. S. Bach.'
- coral on the other hand has no connection with the word "choir", although it looks not unlike choral (note that it has no 'h'), pronounced with the same vowel sound as 'got', IPA: /'kɒ rəl/. It is a noun, the name of a hard red or pink substance, the remains of a tiny sea creature which, living in colonies, builds immense reefs in warm sea water. Coral can be used as jewellery; and the word is also used as an adjective to describe a certain colour, or range of colours; there are coral paints, lipsticks and so on.