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Thread: Homonym confusions!

  1. #1

    Homonym confusions!

    This is a thread for sorting out homonyms! What's a homonym, some joker in the back wants to know? It's a word that sounds exactly like another word but is different! Not sure which is which? Post here and someone will tell you. Notice someone else making a mistake? Refer them here for flogging--er, gentle correction, or report their tomfoolery for my amusement! Of course, all in good fun; everyone makes mistakes, and homonyms are especially tricky little buggers.

    Let's get some of the more common ones out of the way, shall we?

    it's = contraction of it is
    its = possessive form for it

    there = a place that is not here
    their = possessive form for they
    they're = contraction of they are

    then = indicates a later time or a consequence
    than = for making comparisons

    Mix-ups I have seen with my own eyes!
    populace = noun referring to the people of a given region; also sometimes means the poor, the masses
    populous = adjective for a place that is densely populated

    reign = to rule over
    rein = noun, things you use to control a horse; verb, to rein (in), as in to control

    witch = a person who does magic or is a Wiccan, maybe; usually female but not necessarily; pointy hat optional
    which = a relative pronoun introducing a subordinate clause, which can be used in combination with a preposition

    I will here confess that I have been known to mess up "there/their" and "write/right" even though I know the difference very well.

    What errors have you seen? which ones do you routinely commit?

  2. #2
    Compliment = a polite expression of praise or admiration.
    Complement = something that contributes extra features to something else so as to enhance or improve it.

    Allusive = using or containing suggestion rather than explicit mention.
    Elusive = difficult to find, catch, or achieve.
    Illusive = deceptive or illusory.

    Appraise = assess the value, quality, or performance of.
    Apprise = (usually 'apprise someone of') inform or tell.

    Arrant = utter or complete.
    Errant = erring or straying from accepted standards.

    Assure = tell someone something positively in order to dispel potential doubts.
    Insure = protect against a possible eventuality.
    Ensure = make certain that something will occur.

    Affect = have an effect on or make a difference to.
    Effect = a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

    Some of those are more esoteric and therefore harder to get right. I can't find occasion for a writer to make mistakes with any of the straightforward ones such as there/their/they're or it's/its. That should be bread and butter for a wordsmith.
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  3. #3
    Good ones, Sam! Yes, I included some that are pretty basic, but people often have trouble with them, so why not.

    By the way, affect and effect are even more tricksy than you think!

    affect: verb: "have an effect on or make a difference to", yes, but also noun: external expression of mental state (e.g. "lack of affect")
    and!
    effect: noun: "
    a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause", but also verb: to produce a particular result (e.g. "to effect change")

  4. #4
    Isn't the English language a peach?
    Site Rules and Regs

    My Novel

    "One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." ~ Groucho Marx.

    "It is better to be feared than loved, if one cannot be both". ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer". ~ Bruce Lee.

    "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few". ~ Shunryu Suzuki.

    "Give a man a mask and he will show you his true face". ~ Oscar Wilde.

    "He who learns but does not think is lost; he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger". ~ Confucius.

  5. #5
    And... now we know yet another reason why English probably has more words in it than most other languages.

  6. #6
    adverse; strongly opposed to.
    averse; just a bit opposed to.
    It is a matter of degree going from being directly contrary to a bit reluctant

    alternative; having a different choice
    alternate; every other one

    grisly; very gruesome
    grizzly; a type of bear or child

    Hail; frozen rain, or a greeting.
    hale; ...and hearty, not ill.

    all together; in a small group
    altogether; completely
    similarly
    an other; a different one
    another; one more the same
    'was it him or an other?' 'Do we have another suspect?'

    portentious; ominous, but also pompous, which I think is why it sometimes gets confused with
    pretentious; which means affected and showy in a show off way.

    amend; improve
    emend; make corrections
    that is close, but significant.

    hanged and hung, not quite in the remit, but confusable, people are hanged (by the neck until dead) things are hung in all sorts of places.
    that reminds me
    hangar; for putting airplanes in
    hanger; for putting clothes on

    Does anybody ever confuse wrapped and rapt? Perhaps if it is deeply involved (rapt) in thought, you know, all wrapped up in himself.

    How about ones that are spelled the same? '"I went to Southend, a destination of last resort". (For you Americans Southend is a faded holiday resort on the East coast with mud instead of sand)
    Oh, and spelled; for the order the letters are written, and spelt for a primitive type of grain or a mix of wheat and barley.

    and Southend is the sea, so flounder and founder, the first is either a type of fish or the verb meaning to thrash about, the latter to sink to the bottom.

    Olly is 'forever' going on about just ; meaning continually going on
    The name Olly will live 'for ever'. (I wish); meaning for all time

    discreet; tactful and cautious, not imposing
    discrete; separate from one another

    There must be more ...
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    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Morkonan View Post
    And... now we know yet another reason why English probably has more words in it than most other languages.
    Somewhere in excess of 800,000. The next closest is German at 300,000+.
    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    discreet; tactful and cautious, not imposing
    discrete; separate from one another
    I'm a little ashamed to admit I didn't realize this one until my third year in college.
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  9. #9
    Pare: to carve at

    Pair: a set of two

    Pear: a fruit

    "Life is a risk; so is writing. You have to love it." ~ Richard Matheson

    "There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."
    ~Will Rogers

  10. #10
    A potential source of confusion (Sauce on my burger, source of the Nile) is:-
    Deduce what you can Watson, then tell me what your deductions are. ie conclusions arrived at by logic.
    Deduce what the client owes us Watson, then deduct our expenses. ie subtract our expenses.

    By the way deductive logic means starting with general principles and moving to the particular, inductive logic means starting with the particular and moving to the general, though 'deduce' is used to mean 'conclude from the evidence' in either way in general use. Most of Holmes' logic is inductive, most of what are called 'feats of deduction' by Conan Doyle are 'feats of induction'. There's one!

    feet; we have a pair each. and three make a yard.
    feat; an accomplishment, often daring.
    Visit my website to read and listen to stories songs and more
    http://www.oliverbuckle.com/

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. http://www.writingforums.com/threads...Piglet-s-Picks

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