Homophones and Homonyms

are words that sound like another when spoken but have different meanings and use, different spelling and origin.

Homonyms are words that are spelled like another but of a different meaning.
(e.g., bank= a place where you keep money,
bank= the edge of a river.

Words from the first group are the most common misused words in the English language when writing.

Most of the mistakes I see in writing on websites and blogs are words that are used quite often in the English language. Most of them fall into the homophones category. I see a lot of blogs that contain these common mistakes. Needless to say after a while I quit reading the blogs. So this is a reminder to all bloggers READ what you post and look for these common mistakes. I'm sure your readers will be very thankful.

I have been receiving emails with questions about oxymoron, euphemism, metaphor, cliche, palindrome,
anagram, and pleonasm.

The most frequent ones we see on the internet are usually OXYMORON. I know you have received (as all of us have) some ads/emails that say free loan, biggest little, and/or pretty ugly. I get a laugh every time I see these ads.

Well, my dear readers here are the answers to what each of these are.

oxymoron: a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in "cruel kindness"

euphemism: 1. the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt. 2. the expression so substituted: "To pass away" is a euphemism for "to die."

metaphor: a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity, as in "love is a battlefield.

cliche': A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. For example: "One man’s trash is another man’s treasure."

palindrome: A word, phrase, verse, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward. For example: A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!

anagram: a word, phrase, or sentence formed from another by rearranging its letters: “Angel” is an anagram of “glean.”

pleonasm: 1. the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; redundancy.
2. an instance of this, as free gift or true fact.
3. a redundant word or expression.

A little language humor

A little language humor

Word for the week: arachibutyrophobia

Learn a new word every week to expand your vocabulary.

Almost everyone likes peanut butter but there are some who suffer with arachibutyrophobia

rachibutyrophobia : fear of peanut butter sticking to roof of mouth

I don't think a Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists or a Mental Health Specialists
would ever use this word in front of a patient who has this phobia even if it is the correct word for their fear.

hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia... the fear of long words

Adj.; A subject of jest or mockery – This word describes a person, thing or situation that is likely to be the butt of jokes. Use it when you want to sound justified in poking fun at someone.
erotem: noun; The symbol used in writing known as a question mark...?
Phantomnation: "rare" noun; a perfect example of a ghost word--a word that exists only in a dictionary and has never actually been used.

neologism: noun ; coining of new words, new word or meaning

enormity: noun;heinousness, evilness, wickedness, monstrous, great size

abscond: verb; to run away and hide, depart hurriedly, avoid arrest.

samizdat: noun; clandestine publication of banned literature

anomaly: noun; something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified; deviation from the normal or common order, or form, or rule; a person who is unusual

obfuscate: verb; To make something obscure or hard to understand. ( Like the tax codes)

quintessence: noun; purest and most perfect form, manifestation, type, or embodiment

Lipogram: noun; A piece of writing that avoids one or more letters of the alphabet. From Greek lipo- (lacking) + gram (something written).]

triskaidekaphobia: noun; Fear of the number 13.

anomalous: adjective; irregular, deviant, abnormal

diatribe: noun; a bitter verbal attack or speech

ennui: noun; mental weariness, boredom

aficionado: noun; devotee of a sport or pastime

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tip for using a Prefix meaning "Not"

Here is an easy way to remember how to use
the prefixes: in-, il-, ir-, im-

Another prefix meaning "not" or "the opposite of".

However using a prefix often changes to match the
first letter of the base word. This sometimes
results in a double letter.

So, if we want to say the opposite of legal we say
"illegal" instead of "inlegal".

The pattern is like this:
*Use il- before words starting with l.
So not legible = illegible.

*Use ir- before words starting with r.
So not relevant = irrelevant

*Use im- before words starting with m but also in front
of words starting with p.

So: not mature = immature not perfect = imperfect.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

How to get more readers to your blog

No one likes to read a blog or website that contains words they have never seen or understand. So it would be best to keep them plain and simple. Just because you know these "big" words doesn't mean everyone does. It's a true fact that the easy to read blogs have the most readers.

Here are some tips for keeping your writing user-friendly:

# Keep Sentences Short.
# Use words your readers are likely to understand.
# Use only as many words as you really need.
# Prefer the active voice.
# Write as if you were talking to one person.
# Use the clearest, liveliest verb to express your thoughts.
# Use Vertical Lists to make complex material understandable.
# Try to avoid sexist usage.
# Put accurate punctuation at the heart of your writing.
# Avoid being enslaved by seven writing myths. It's okay to start a sentence with And or But
# Plan Before You Write.
# Organize your material in a simple way.
# Consider different ways of setting out your information.
# Use clear layout to present your plain words. Show some white space between paragraphs.
# Remember to keep it simple so everyone can read and understand what you write.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Among or Between

in, into, or through the midst of; in association or connection with; surrounded by: He was among friends.


in the space separating (two points, objects, etc.): between New York and Chicago.

intermediate to, in time, quantity, or degree: between twelve and one o'clock; between 50 and 60 apples; between pink and red.

linking; connecting: air service between cities.

in portions for each of (two people): splitting the profits between them.

The simplest rule of thumb is to use "among" if there are 3 or more people, places or things and to use "between" if there are only 2 people, places or things. For example, say "James and Jerry will split the check between them, but We will divided the grocery bill among all 3 of us.

Determine whether the places,things or people are involved in a direct relationship. If there is one-to-one correspondence, use "between" even when there are more than two people, places or things being discussed. For example, "There was many disagreements between Mary, Mark and John."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Beside and Besides

Take a close look at these words and notice that one has a "s" on the end which changes the meaning.

Beside: preposition, near, next to, at the side of

I will stand beside you through good times or bad.
She stood beside the fence gate.

Besides: in addition to, apart from, except
It was the most popular book ever written, besides the Bible.
Everyone besides Anna wanted to go swimming.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

pore and pour

I recently read in a newspaper that "The police poured over the data of a crime looking for clues". We all know you can't pour over something, unless you are pouring a liquid over it. What they meant was pored which means to read or study.

Pore: intransitive verb; : to gaze intently, to read or study attentively —usually used with over,
to reflect or meditate steadily.

She will pore over the book to get ready for the test.

Pour: transitive verb; to cause to flow in a stream, to dispense from a container
to supply or produce freely or copiously
to give full expression to : vent

intransitive verb; to move with a continuous flow , to rain hard, to move or come continuously, stream
to score easily or freely (as in basketball) —used with in

The waiter will pour drinks for the guest while we serve the food.

Did the rain pour down hard in your area?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

elicit and illicit

Elicit and Illicit may sound the same when spoken but they have different spelling and meaning. Be careful when writing these words.

elicit: verb; to obtain, coax out, draw out, prompt

I could not elicit a response from her.

illicit: adjective; unlawful, forbidden, illegal

He is in jail for smuggling illicit drugs into the country.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Proved vs Proven

“Proved" or "proven" is another one of those sets of words journalists, writers and speakers mix up constantly. While the use or should I say the misuse of these two words will not greatly affect the lives of most people, it's the responsibility of aspiring writers and professional writers, however, to know the difference.

Understand that both "proved and proven" are noted by some dictionaries as past participles of "prove."
Professional writers take a more particular view of the use of these words. But you can use whichever word sounds and works the best for you, Just be sure to use "proven" for the adjectives.

Example: "She used a proven method."

Know that "proved" is the current choice for the past participle of the verb "prove."
An example: The child has proved his strengths in numbers.

You may notice that journalist use "proven" as an adjective in journalism always.
"Proven" is not used as a past participle in journalism.

Apply the rules for predicate adjective in a linking verb construction as well by using "proven." Use "proven" as an adjective that modifies another word as in the following example: The child's ability to add has been proven. "Proven" modifies "ability;" it is not a part of the verb.

Be a careful writer when using "proved" and/or "proven" if you are a journalist where rules reign. But for most of us, we can use either word as a past participle if it applies. But remember to use "proven" as the adjective in all cases, just to be on the safe side.