Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The homophone hazard.

Why are there so many homophone mistakes? The other day I saw peace for piece. There is also the ubiquitous peak for peek, and let's not even think about throwing pique into that mix. I just read a blog that had isle for aisle. Unless of course the writer really meant that there was an isle in a movie theatre that someone was pacing up and down. The again it might have been a typo - the writer just not hitting the a key

These errors jump out at me and give me the itchies. They distract me and often I can barely finish reading. It's like a traffic accident - you gotta look, and in my case, look and look and ...

I suppose everyone has a particular grammatical error that drives them around the bend (contractions and the possessive form are fun too) and mine has become homophones.

If anyone reading this is a teacher, perhaps you can offer me some insight (or incite for homophone lovers) into this recent epidemic of homophone horrors. Non-native English speakers/writers are exempt.

Then there are homonyms, which in some definitions are included in homophones and I can see their (there/they're) point.

Definition of homophone and homonym:
homophone - two words are homophones if they are pronounced the same way but differ in meaning or spelling or both (e.g. bare and bear)

homonym - two words are homonyms if they are pronounced or spelled the same way but have different meanings" Source
If I remember correctly I was taught homonyms were words spelled the same but with different meanings. But that was a long time ago, I may be misremembering.

In case you are curious this site is a handy homophone reference.

Grammar is not one of my strong suits - proper punctuation and apostrophe usage have me second guessing myself and Googling as I write - and still I get it wrong. But homophones - I think I pretty much got that one aced.

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