WRITING: HOMONYMS–THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

WRITING:  HOMONYMS–THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY      June 21, 2017

Homonyms are words that sound the same but have different spellings, meanings, and purposes. In writing, they bring with them the good, the bad, and the ugly:

 

THE GOOD:     for rhyming, esp. when writing a poem

THE BAD:         wrong word/wrong place/wrong time

THE UGLY:       when people don’t care and don’t know the differences, and don’t check or correct their writing

 

For example, let’s look at “effect” vs. “affect,” which often cause confusion and trouble:

“Effect” is a noun (What effect will this issue have on my job?)

more often than it’s a verb (I will effect [produce] a solution to the problem today);

“affect” is a verb (How will that problem affect my job?).

Correct pronunciation helps to clarify spelling and usage: “ee-fect” (effect) vs. “uh-fect” (affect).

 

Remember: Using Spell Check while writing won’t catch homonym errors because the words sound alike. Two of the most-common homonym errors occur among the following groups of three:  to/two/too AND their/there/they’re. Writing the wrong word can result in embarrassment! When a contraction is involved, think about what it means. So, you’ll have to slow down a bit to think about meaning/intent and spelling while you write, and then you’ll have to proofread objectively and carefully. If you’re not sure, grab a dictionary and look it up.

 

Some other common homonyms:  are/our/hour, ball/bawl, bear/bare, beat/beet, been/bean/bin, board/bored, berry/bury, brake/break, chilly/chili, dear/deer, do/dew/doo, fairy/ferry, flee/flea, flower/flour, guest/guessed, hare/hair, him/hymn, hire/higher,  horse/hoarse, made/maid, merry/marry, might/mite, night/knight, no/know, new/knew, oar/ore, pain/pane, pair/pear/pare, peak/peek, peal/peel, rap/wrap, raise/rays, red/read, sore/soar, rain/rein/ reign,, sale/sail, steak/stake, see/sea, seen/scene, sell/cell, son/sun, scent/cent, steel/steal, so/sew, tail/tale, time/thyme, toe/tow, wait/weight, waste/waist, whale/wail, we/wee, whole/hole, wring/ring, you/yew.

 

Which homonyms are bad or ugly for you? What tricks do you have to keep certain ones good?

 

For more on homonyms, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homonym or https://www.abcteach.com/free/h/homonym_list_free.pdf. If you need additional help with spelling, grammar, or more, our low-cost online campus at www.writestyle.com may benefit you.

Questions?  Comments?  Let me know through blog comments or via e-mail to writestyle@mindspring.com.

 

See you next week!

Vickie L. Weaver

Vickie L. Weaver

Owner at Writestyle
Writing has been an important talent and part of my life since I was a child.Professionally, after decades of employment for others, I founded Writestyle in 1996 to provide writing, editing, proofreading, training, and more to clients worldwide (www.writestyle.com).Clients often call my work “magic.”I have written and/or edited for “Coexistence Magazine” (national), for “Ohio Magazine,” and for various newspapers.In addition, I have edited or contributed to the writing of numerous books.Personally, I have written in various genres.I have always composed poetry; as such, I have won awards and publication for some of my poems, and I am compiling a book of my poetry.One of my children’s books is set for publication.With my second husband, family and friends in Ohio, I enjoy music and dance, aid charitable causes, and strive for beauty and harmony in life.
Vickie L. Weaver

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