Writing for Business

May 14 2012   1:55PM GMT

Navel research or naval research?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
The United States _______ Research Laboratory (NRL) is the corporate research laboratory for the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps.
a. Navel
b. Naval

Answer: b.
Naval refers to something related to the navy. Navy Knowledge Online (NKO), for example, is a naval education website.

A navel, on the other hand, is a bellybutton. So a navel research lab would study matters related to bellybuttons. (Navel is also a type of orange, so the lab might study those instead. But that wouldn’t be as funny.)

Navel vs. naval is covered in Paul Brians’ Common Errors in English Usage.

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