Are you wondering why there are two commonly used spellings for the same word, and which one is correct - ‘amature’ or ‘amateur’? Then you’re in the right place!
Today we’re going to dissect the word and its meaning and try to understand the reason for the common misspelling.
‘Amateur’ is the correct spelling. ‘Amature’ is an incorrect spelling for the word and does not mean anything.
What does 'amateur' mean, and how do you pronounce it? Two questions that are very valid, since the word is unlike most English words. Let us explain why, and give you some clarity on the matter.
As we stated in the introduction, the correct word is ‘amateur.’ ‘Amature’ is an incorrect spelling of the word. So if you ever want to use the term and write it down in any text in English, you’ll need to use the spelling’ amateur.’
The word has a couple of meanings. Additionally, it can be either a noun or an adjective, depending on the context.
The word’s first use is, in short, the antonym of ‘professional.’
You can therefore use it to refer to somebody who is not a professional at what they do. What exactly this means can be a little ambiguous. Some sources will say that amateurs do not get paid for what they do, while a professional does. However, some do receive payment for their work. But you could certainly say that an amateur does not do it for the money; they do it out of passion. They pursue it out of love for the craft.
For example, a professional photographer might have begun as an amateur photographer. They may have started photographing things because they fell in love with the art form that is photography. Then they might decide they would like to sell a few snaps to see if others value their work. They would probably sell these snaps under the label of amateur photographer.
Perhaps, at a later stage, they decide that they would like to spend all their time taking photos and make it their job. At this point, they might take some courses or official certifications or have gotten skilled enough at the craft through practice. Either way, they will transition from amateur to professional and charge appropriately.
Another meaning of the word is to refer to somebody who is not great at what they do. They might be lacking in competence in the area in question.
This meaning was likely derived from the original sense to mean that if you are not a pro at something, you mustn’t be very good at it. This is an erroneous assumption since an amateur can be just as good as - or better than - a professional. It all depends on the person and the craft in particular.
Still, the word ‘amateur’ now officially carries this second meaning, so it can be used accurately in a sentence to say that somebody is not very good at something.
Let us now use the word in some example sentences. First, we will give examples of the word in the first sense we described - that of being a non-professional.
Now for some example sentences using the word in its second sense - the derogatory term.
Hopefully, this has helped clarify both meanings of the word. Now, why not see if you can come up with your own examples?
It can be helpful to understand the etymology of a word to remember correct spellings and meanings.
Firstly, did you know that the word ‘amateur’ is French? You may have guessed it due to its spelling. This might also help explain why it isn’t spelled like a typical English word.
The French word ‘amateur’ comes from the Latin amator, meaning ‘lover.’ Do you see why we say that knowing the root of a word can help to understand its meaning? Indeed, if the term comes from the Latin word that means ‘lover,’ then we should use the term to refer to somebody who loves something very much.
So now you know how to spell the word ‘amateur,’ but this doesn’t mean you know how to spell it. That’s a whole different kettle of fish! How might an American read the word out loud? Let us break it down for you.
The official pronunciation in International Phonetic Alphabet, by the way, is:
What if you had to choose between being an amateur or a pro? Which one would you choose? Let’s weigh up the advantages of each one.
The first and most obvious advantage of being an amateur is that money would not be a part of the equation. You might think this is a disadvantage rather than a benefit. Still, relying on your income from your passion for paying your bills can take away your joy in doing what you love, as it becomes an obligation instead of something you do when you want to.
Another advantage of being an amateur is that you don’t have to keep up appearances or pretend to have any specific level or skill. Being labeled a pro can pressure you to be the best. If you are an amateur, you can perform your craft and enjoy it daily since you have nothing to prove.
Let’s list one more benefit of being an amateur before moving on to the disadvantages. And that is the willingness to experiment. Because you have nothing to lose, as this is a hobby for you, and you’re just looking to get better, you’re more likely to be willing to take risks to improve your craft. If you were a pro, you might worry about what people will think or whether or not it will affect your income.
Now let’s talk about the disadvantages of being an amateur. We will start with the obvious one - that you do not get paid much as an amateur. This would mean you may have to have a full-time job on the side to make a living, leaving you little time to spend on the activity. You may have to wait for evenings or weekends.
The second disadvantage of being an amateur is related to the first one. You might be miserable if you are not doing what you love as a full-time job. Spending as much time as possible doing things that bring us joy is always better.
Another disadvantage is that you might have to motivate yourself to spend time on your hobby. If you’re working full-time in another job and have to do chores, and you want to have a social life, you will probably be exhausted by the end of it, and you will need a lot of self-motivation to make sure you continue to spend time on your hobby.
What level does an amateur need to have? Can a beginner be an amateur? The answer is “yes, absolutely!”. Everyone must start somewhere; as such, any amateur will start as a beginner.
That is not to say that every amateur is a beginner, far from it. Some amateurs may be beginners, others may be very advanced in their skill level, and yet others may be somewhere in the middle.
We are sure that you now see that the word ‘amateur’ is open to interpretation in many aspects - from whether or not an amateur gets paid, the advantages of being an amateur over a pro, to what level an amateur usually is.
To summarize, being an amateur can mean either the opposite of professional, or a derogatory term to say that somebody is not very good at something.
Finally, the correct spelling for the word is ‘amateur,’ and ‘amature’ is not a valid word in the English language.
Feel free to go ahead and use this word as you see fit now that you know the correct spelling and meaning.