Word play / Writing

Homophone alert: Sound-alike words can trip you up in writing

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Its a crying shame how often writers use the wrong word!

Oops, I just used “its” instead of the correct word, “it’s.”  I’m just trying to see if you are paying attention!

Homophones such as “it’s” and “its” are words that are pronounced the same, but have different meanings and spellings.

How do you guard against falling into the homophone trap? The best way is to study sentences with both words used properly in context.

Carefully examine what distinguishes one from another.

Then you can prevent the embarrassment that comes with this kind of goof-up.

I’ve prepared a few for you, putting them in context to allow you to make the correct distinctions:

Principal, principle 

The assistant principal at our high school read the essay, “Principles of Effective Study,” to the assembly.

Compliment, complement

The guest’s compliment about my dinner party complemented a delightful evening.

Altar, alter

Her life certainly will be altered after saying her vows at the altar. (Thanks to Gail Ross)

Reign, rein

During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the Russian tsar kept a tight rein on his people.

Foul, fowl

A foul odor emitted from the pen where the fowl were contained.

Capitol, capital

We’re heading for the nation’s capital where our Congressman will give us a personal tour of the Capitol.

Lose, loose 

Our pet dog is out on the loose. I’m afraid we’ll lose him in this fog.

Hope this has helped you. Check out this site for an exhaustive list of homophones: http://www.homophone.com/index.php

One last word: Homophones are hear to stay, but you can master them. Yep, I tried to trick you in that last sentence. It’s “here” instead of “hear.”

Sorry ‘bout that!

Ron’s tips on writing your memoir–Part I

 

 

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