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Misused Homonyms - revisited

     
7:36 pm on Jun 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We have an old thread about using the wrong homonym in business writing [webmasterworld.com]. You know, the kind of spelling error that no spell checker will ever catch because it's still a good word, but just wrong. These errors make a web page look illiterate.

ALLOWED
ALOUD

I'm running into this one all the time lately.

7:38 pm on June 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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rcjordan:
bear
v. To hold up; support

bare
v. To uncover or reveal: bared their heads; baring secrets

Grin and bear it.

plus:

baer
n. [proper noun] name of a moderator on WebmasterWorld

7:39 pm on June 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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also,

its it's its'

there their they're ...and many others

i can understand why people sometimes get these things wrong, but it makes reading so much easier if people make sense :)

7:41 pm on June 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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On the referenced old thread, the two that still trip me up are DISCREET, DISCRETE and FOREWORD, FORWARD
8:13 pm on June 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Using "it's" as a possessive is one I trip on. Everything ELSE uses possessive apostrophes! I try to remember "it" only gets one for "it is" or "it has" and the like...
8:21 pm on June 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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capital
and
capitol
8:38 pm on June 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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What drives me nuts, as a former teacher, is when IDIOTS on web foums (not this one, but another one I frequent) don't even bother with homonyms, but start writing like this:

Do U no of a way 2 put pics on my site?

I usually respond to those in the same fashion, but much more nasty.

8:58 pm on June 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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capital
and
capitol

My mnemonic trick - I remember the "o" in dome. The Capitol has a dome.

4:16 am on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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too two to
role roll
break brake
effect affect

Not quite a homonym, but often-seen:
access assess

And my all-time pet peeve, though not a homonym:
"comprised OF"
(The whole comprises the parts, the parts compose the whole... Repeat until memorized) :)

Jim (gym)

10:01 am on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Yeesh, where to begin?

stationary and stationery
rein and reign
complement and compliment
insure and ensure
elicit and illicit
hangar and hanger

Just to name a few.

One of my favorites and one I see often; meddle, metal, mettle and medal.

Then there's enquire and inquire, allude and elude, and, and, I need to go but the two words, No and One are being cramped together as one word quite a bit lately and that makes me NUTS, noone should do that. :) Don't forget axel and axle.

DG

1:45 pm on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I see the two words principle and principal misused constantly.

My 2nd grade teacher taught the class a cute way to remember the difference:

"The principal is your PAL."

7:20 pm on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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the kind of spelling error that no spell checker will ever catch because it's still a good word, but just wrong

Other things you need proofreading for:

One letter wrong
In the days of typing pools I used to regularly get r's and w's misread -- these days I have to do it myself:

Please note that the office is now open at 08:00.
or is that?
Please note that the office is not open at 08:00.

Misplaced space
"flocking" a tree doe snot make it fire-resistive.
(nearly 1000 such hits on Google: including the one above)

7:46 pm on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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These errors make a web page look illiterate.

I'm just never sure whether people just like to play with words, or if they really don't know when to use which one. Misused homonyms seem to be a speciality of the english language, as I rarely encounter them in any german language writing.

Oh, and I don't see site, side, and sight listed yet, which may well be the favourites on this very forum.

7:50 pm on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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<<Using "it's" as a possessive is one I trip on. Everything ELSE uses possessive apostrophes!>>

The parallels to remember here are "his" and "hers" (no apostrophes).

8:07 pm on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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"loose" vs "lose". 99% of the time, the latter is what's meant. Sets my teeth on edge just thinkin' 'bout it.
9:03 pm on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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your and you're is one I come across regularly.
9:56 pm on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Actually some of my favorites aren't really homonyms, just words that sound similar but are totally wrong.
Like:
perpetrate a myth vs. perpetuate a myth
10:07 pm on June 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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how about preform and perform. I constantly mix these two up myself. They even sound different.
1:04 am on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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How about affective vs. effective? As my mother the English teacher says, "an affect produces an effect."
2:07 am on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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"All right" and "alright". There is no such word as "alright"? Precisely.
2:40 am on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Misosoph - with all appropriate credit to dictionary.com

Usage Note: Despite the appearance of the form alright in works of such well-known writers as Langston Hughes and James Joyce, the single word spelling has never been accepted as standard. This is peculiar, since similar fusions such as already and altogether have never raised any objections. The difference may lie in the fact that already and altogether became single words back in the Middle Ages, whereas alright has only been around for a little more than a century and was called out by language critics as a misspelling. Consequently, one who uses alright, especially in formal writing, runs the risk that readers may view it as an error or as the willful breaking of convention.

2:56 am on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Among my pet peeves: "shouldn't of," "could of," etc.; "of" instead of "have." Or, more homonistically, instead of "'ve."
2:45 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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In addition to all those that have already been mentioned.

Related problems:

"could care less" when "couldn't care less" is meant.

"million and a half dollars" for "one and a half million dollars".

(if those two are the same to you, please send me the $499,999.50 difference between $1,000,000.50 and $1,500,000.00)

4:14 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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alot
5:46 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Mardi_Gras,

Thank you. I think that if you can write like Joyce, then you may also spell like Joyce. But maybe for the rest of us that's not a good idea, because readers will just think we don't know any better.

"Witch" and "which", "whether" and "weather". These were hard for me for maybe that first sixteen years of my life.

7:00 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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mivox writes:
Using "it's" as a possessive is one I trip on. Everything ELSE uses possessive apostrophes! I try to remember "it" only gets one for "it is" or "it has" and the like...

Actually, the apostrophe rule is only for nouns. No possessive pronoun uses an apostrophe --compare "yours" "hers" "theirs". This should make it easier to keep "its" straight. (Does that help?)
7:41 pm on June 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

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It is not a homonym but I very very tired of it.

The use of "due to".

2:20 am on June 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Anything verbose. Choosing the wrong homonym is one thing, but writing that isn't clear and concise is far worse - and isn't worth my time. I have a short attention span. I think every serious content producer should read The Elements of Style, written in 1918 by William Strunk. A short book that teaches how to get the crap out of your writing.

He is a man who is intelligent.
----> He is intelligent.
Due to the fact that.
----> Because

3:05 am on June 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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This should make it easier to keep "its" straight.

Yes, assuming I remember that little tidbit, it should. ;)

4:10 am on June 8, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Further off topic ...

"Where's it at?" Before the "at". That's where it is.

Don't say "these ones". Say "these". "May I have these?"

Don't ask "Which ones?". Ask "Which?". "Which would you like?"

This 66 message thread spans 3 pages: 66
 

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