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Misused homonyms, etc
things that get past a spell checker
tedster




msg:380839
 8:11 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

I'm compiling a list of pitfall words in the English language -- and for some reason, copy on the web is rife with examples (not RIPE with examples). In most cases, a spell check won't catch a misuse. Even Word's grammar check can miss them, depending on the sentence.

Some of my pet peeves in business writing:

1. MOOT, MUTE
A moot point is one that is merely academic and not practical, or (less commonly today) one that is still open to discussion.
Something is mute if it makes no sound.

2. TACK, TACT
Take a different tack [take a different approach]
Use more tact [be diplomatic]

3. INTENTS AND, INTENSIVE
For all intents and purposes
NOT "For all intensive purposes." This phrase is a horrid cliche, IMO, but if we "must" use it, it should be used correctly.

4. PRINCIPLE, PRINCIPAL
The principal taught us many principles when he re-invested our retirement fund's principle.

Only "principal" is also used as an adjective: This is our principal goal.

5. AFFECT, EFFECT
The drug affected the patient.
The drug had several side effects.
We would like to effect a change.

6. ACCEPT, EXCEPT
We will accept most contributtions, except for illegally acquired funds.

7. ILLICIT, ELICIT
Let's elicit confessions of illicit behavior.

________________

My own writing suffers from these problems as well. So, I'm wondering about:

1. Other common examples
2. Any software or other work-flow methods devoted to catching these little corruptions. When they slip through they can really make a site sound illiterate.

 

rcjordan




msg:380840
 8:18 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

Grammar check should catch these, but I think the most common I see are:

to, too, two

their, there, they're

your, you're

mivox




msg:380841
 8:18 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

LOSS LEADER

Commonly mis-typed as "lost leader"

A project or promotion that loses money in and of itself, but leads people to the primary product/service...
"The free web graphics site was a loss leader for the company's custom graphic design services."

Don't know if I got the origin of the phrase right, but the general meaning and correct spelling are all there.

tedster




msg:380842
 8:23 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

rc - yes, and also: its, it's

mivox - GOOD ONE! It started in the supermarket business but as other businesses grabbed onto the concept it really got mangled!

rcjordan




msg:380843
 9:23 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

closely related:

You can learn a bunch from this spoof site: Those Pesky Apostrophe's [spinnwebe.com] ...it makes me paranoid every time I surf through there.

mivox




msg:380844
 9:38 pm on Sep 28, 2001 (gmt 0)

I used to be SO proud of my mastery of the apostrophe... now I'm afraid "it's" is one of my big grammatical nemeses. Don't know why or when I started slipping.

Marcia




msg:380845
 3:37 am on Sep 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

Loose and lose. We turn something loose, or a horse gets loose, but we lose out or lose money.

>why or when I started slipping
mivox, I believe it can happen from reading email and board posts with common typos, from seeing the same thing repeatedly.

tedster




msg:380846
 9:39 am on Oct 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

Tripped over two more this week:

1. DISCREET, DISCRETE
Discreet = knows when to keep quiet
Discrete = not continuous

2. FOREWORD, FORWARD
A paper begins with a Foreword
The opposite of backward is forward

rcjordan




msg:380847
 4:11 pm on Oct 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

bear [dictionary.com]
v. To hold up; support

bare [dictionary.com]
v. To uncover or reveal: bared their heads; baring secrets

Grin and bear it.

mivox




msg:380848
 6:18 pm on Oct 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

Sometimes, grinning and baring it is more fun tho'...

mivox




msg:380849
 9:16 pm on Nov 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

Have seen this one twice recently... ;)

Harked/Harking, Hawked/Hawking

You hawk your wares, but you hark to the sales pitch being loudly delivered by the guy in the next booth over, who's hawking your competitors wares...

All WebmasterWorld visitors should harken to our site TOS, which specifically prohibits them from hawking their own wares, or those of their affiliates...

Hawk [dictionary.com]
v. tr. To peddle (goods) aggressively, especially by calling out.

Hark [dictionary.com]
intr.v. [harked, hark·ing, harks] To listen attentively.

lawman




msg:380850
 11:33 pm on Nov 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

callous
callus

a callus is something you have (hard thick skin) and callous is something you are (insensitive).

Lawman

mivox




msg:380851
 11:38 pm on Nov 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

I had no idea...

According to dictionary.com, callous can also mean "having calluses"... So callus could be a noun or verb, while callous can be an adjective or verb.

Usage Note: Do not confuse the adjective callous, as in "Years of dealing with criminals had left her callous," with the noun callus, as in "I have a callus on my thumb." Also, do not confuse the verb callous, which means “to make or become callous,” with the verb callus “to form or develop hardened tissue.”

I love this stuff. :)

mivox




msg:380852
 11:52 pm on Nov 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

An addition to the English language: Flammable

Once upon a way-back time, a substance which caught fire easily was...
INflammable = able to be inflamed.

Enough years of "creative vocabulary" on cautionary signs, and everyone somehow got the idea that flammable meant it COULD catch on fire, and inflammable meant it was fire resistant.

Now dictionaries list the two as synonyms.

lawman




msg:380853
 1:46 am on Nov 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

And let's not forget peak and pique. I'll let Mivox do the honors of providing definitions as she is much more thorough and easier on the eyes than I (I saw the picture you posted). :)

Lawman

mivox




msg:380854
 2:01 am on Nov 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

ROFL!!!

pi·qué [dictionary.com] n.
1. A tightly woven fabric with various raised patterns, produced especially by a double warp.
2. A state of vexation caused by a perceived slight or indignity; a feeling of wounded pride.

peak [dictionary.com] n.
1.A tapering, projecting point; a pointed extremity: the peak of a cap; the peak of a roof.
2. To become sickly, emaciated, or pale. (She looked a bit peaked after last night's party)

And, let's not forget...

peek [dictionary.com] n.
1. A brief or furtive look.

tedster




msg:380855
 5:01 am on Nov 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

There is also the verb form:

1) pique (one syllable) which means "provoke or arouse" as in "Those comments piqued my curiosity." This one gets mangled all the time as "peaked my curiosity", and that is just not right!

Woz




msg:380856
 6:59 am on Nov 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

looking through my notes ---

Commonly confused words

affect / effect
affect (verb) - when a person or a thing, does something that brings a change.
effect (noun) - the actual result of the change.

assure / ensure / insure
assure (verb) - to promise or try to persuade someone that something is true.
ensure (verb) - to make sure that something happens.
insure (verb) - money you pay so that if something bad happens, you get a sum of money back.

become / get
become (verb) and get both mean to change over time.
Get also means to obtain whereas become does not.

borrow / lend
borrow (verb) - when you ask someone to give you something for a period of time.
lend (verb) - when someone gives you something (for a period of time).

Also confused with loan, the actual thing or sum of money lent.

bring / take / fetch
bring (verb) - to personally convey something from there to here.
take (verb) - to personally something convey from here to there.
fetch (verb) - to go from here to there, and then personally convey something back here.

chance / opportunity
chance (noun) - something that might or might not happen.
opportunity (noun) - a situation where something good can happen.

economic / economical
economic (adj) - to describe the noun 'economy'.
economical (adj) - to describe something that saves you money.

fit / suit
fit (verb) - to be the right size.
suit (verb) - to look good on someone.

for / since
for - to show the period of time that something has continued (use with all tenses).
since - to show that something started at a point in time (such as a date) and has continued up to now (used with present perfect and past perfect tenses).

happen / occur
happen (verb) - when something takes place, especially if it's unplanned.
occur (verb) - when you suddenly think of something.

hire / rent
hire (verb) - to pay for something so that you can borrow it for a short time.
rent (verb) - to pay for something that you want to borrow for a longer time, usually property.
Also, we hire people, but never rent them!

if / when
if - introduces a possibility.
when - introduces a certainty.

infer / imply
infer (verb) - to think something is true, based on someone else's information.
imply (verb) - to suggest something, without saying it directly.
implication (noun) - something not said directly, also the resultand situationor position of an action or verbage.
implicit (adj) especially for criticism or threat - something that is not said directly.

journey / travel
journey (noun) - a particular occasion spent moving, especially if it takes a long time, or is far away, or if it happens regularly.
travel (uncountable noun) - a general word for moving.

lie / lie / lay / lay
lie (verb) - to recline (past tense is 'lay', present participle is 'lying').
- to say something which isn't true (past tense = lied)
lay (verb) - to put something down (past tense is laid, present participle is 'laying').
- what birds, reptiles, insects and only two mammals do with eggs.

look / watch
look (verb) - to see something.
watch (verb) - to pay attention to something.

personal / personnel
personal (adj) - something which relates only to you.
- something which you do not want to tell other people.
personnel (uncountable noun) - the people who work in a company.

raise / rise
raise (verb) - to make something higher, ie, outside intervention.
rise (verb) - when something gets higher on its own.

say / tell
say (verb) - to communicate words to someone.
tell (verb) - to pass on information.

Onya
Woz

Invisible snowman




msg:380857
 6:59 pm on Nov 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

I never noticed. haha I need to check that out.

richcasto




msg:380858
 7:23 pm on Nov 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

I use short sentences to remember which is which, e.g.:

It's a rare dog that won't scratch its own fleas.

The man was hanged because he forgot where he had hung his coat.

nell




msg:380859
 11:02 pm on Nov 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

My personal favorites are:

preventative instead of preventive

and

irregardless instead of regardless

very unique instead of unique

also ranks high

tilt




msg:380860
 2:36 am on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Lawman, you did pique my curiosity so I peeked at Mivox's profile and saw that she lives in the land of peaks.

Now do you know what? I made a spelling mistake in the above sentence, and only fixed it because I proofread. ;)

Did anybody mention "no" vs "know"?

Tedster, "moot" vs "mute" is not only confused in writing. I had a colleague who would continually say "that's a mute point". Of course, I would cup my hand to my ear and listen and then say "yup, your're right."

Woz




msg:380861
 2:43 am on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Clever tilt!

In case no one has done so already, let me welcome you to WebMasterWorld.

Onya
Woz

PS, stay away from the pinball machines!

tilt




msg:380862
 2:44 am on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Speaking of proofreading, I said:
>yup, your're right

I guess if you don't know the difference between "your" and "you're" then if you combine the two maybe you'll get it right? ;)

This one is not exactly a misused homonym but: option vs choice.
If you need to decide between "A" and "B" you have two options but one choice.

[added]
Thanks for the welcome, Woz. I'd been lurking for a while. Looks like a good neighborhood. So, you remember pinball games too? ;)
[/added]

europeforvisitors




msg:380863
 4:59 am on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

The one that I see most often (and which I never encountered in my pre-online days) is "Here, here" for "Hear, hear."

chiyo




msg:380864
 5:55 am on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

"Phillipines"and other mispellings for this Asian country almost beats out "Philippines" on our search engine terms used by SE searchers. Thankfully, most SE's seem to return pages with the correct spelling for the incorrect spelling.

Remember all the US/UK variants too. globalization vs globalisation etc etc. ad nauseum. We add mispellings/alternative spellings to metatags but more for hope than any evidence that it helps. Even though we are a Malaysian site with English/Australian backgrounds, our style guide requires US spelling, mainly because it is thought it is better for search engines in delivering SE traffic to us.

lawman




msg:380865
 11:08 am on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hey chiyo:

Didn't you misspell misspellings? :)

Lawman

chiyo




msg:380866
 11:17 am on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hehe.. I'm the wurst spella without my spellchecker!

grnidone




msg:380867
 5:36 pm on Nov 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

hung
hanged

"I hung the picture yesterday."
"The man was tried and hanged." <-- *NOT* hung.

When you say "The man was hung yesterday" you're not talking about ropes.

sit
set

If it is a living animal/ being, it 'sits'.
I watched the large Harley rider sit on the bench.

If it is not a living being it is SET.
I set the vase on the table.

Woz




msg:380868
 12:24 am on Nov 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

I find the English language a fascinating subject. (The easiest way to find out how much you don't know about it is to start teaching it!) There is a preliferation of sites about English and heaps of Ezines, all of which are fairly easy to find to the savvy searcher.

However, one that takes my fancy is the Majority English Dibul [bentarz.se], Majority English being defined as "the English of non-native speakers". I find it a very informative, funny, and stimulating ezine which I think would be very useful to Webmasters trying to fathom the intracacies of this mixed up language.

From the latest Dibul:-
"3. E-STUFF
<snip>
Can you explain the difference between e-trade, e-business and e-commerce?
___

No. And I doubt if the company doing the e-whatever can either."

"4. NEW WORDS
<snip>
HANDHELD - A computer, PDA, telephone, camera, etc all in one but small
enough to hold in your hand. These devises are not fully developed yet and
it will be interesting to see if "handheld" becomes the term of choice."

Highly recommended by yours truly with the obligatory disclaimer of "no affiliation".

onya
Woz

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