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

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fewer and/or Less

Again while doing some proofreading I ran across these 2 words which seem to give people quiet a hard time in knowing their proper usage. So even though they are not homonyms nor homophones I thought they should be explained so writers would have a better understanding of the way in which to use them properly.

fewer: /adjective/ not as many as (applies only to numbers)

Usage: In the supermarket, only people with 20 or fewer items should use the Express Lanes.

less: /adjective/ ,not as much as (applies to extent, degree, bulk),
Usage: There is less chance of a mistake if you read the instructions.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Would of " , "could of", "should of" ???

Recently I have run across the use of " would of", "could of", "should of" used in a sentence,
when it should have been "would have", "could have", and/or "should have"
This seems to be a very common mistake made when speaking as well as when writing.
I "could of" been a better writer if I "would of" learned to use English grammar properly.
The right way would read...I "could HAVE" been a better writer if I "HAD" learned to use English
grammar properly.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Waste and Waist

Today while reading post in forums and on some social sites I visit often I noticed
the word "waist" had been used in place of the word "waste" in the post. So I thought these two homophones should have a place on my blog so my readers could get a better understanding of these words.

Waist /noun/, a part of the human body below the
ribs and above the hips.

Waste /verb/ anything of no purpose, fail to use, to wear gradually away, to use extravagantly.

The waist of the skirt was too tight.
The belt fit perfectly around the waist.

It was a waste of time reading that paper.
Don't waste your money on something you can't use.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Good or Well

Good or Well?

good /adjective/ modifies nouns
well /adverb/ modifies verbs, adjectives and other adverbs

But there are exceptions to this rule. "Well" may be used when describing if something is proper, healthy or suitable. As in, "I am well today."

When used in a sentence

That is a good cake. (Good is modifying the noun, cake )
You sang the song very well. (Well is modifying the verb, sang.)
The lady is working well. (Well is modifying the verb,working .)
The car is in good shape. (Good is modifying the noun, car.)

One exception is with the use of verbs of sensation like touch, feel, looks, hears, and smells. It would be proper to say, "The cake smells good." To say that the cake smells well would imply that the cake has a nose that can smell appropriately. So, to add more confusion, it is also correct to say, "I feel good today." Good refers to how you are physically and spiritually feeling.

How are you feeling?

I feel good.

How are you?

I am well, thank you.

I or Me

I or me.

I /pronoun/ used by a speaker or writer when referring to him or herself.

Me /pronoun/ an objective case of I, also referring to oneself.

Sometimes the pronoun I or me can be a little confusing.

If we can get a little grammatical here, "I" should be used when it is the subject of the sentence, that is the person doing the verb. "Me" should be used for the object of the sentence either direct or indirect.

A good test as to which one to use is to think which one would be used if the other person were not included in the sentence.

These are the kinds of situations where there could be a problem deciding whether to use I or me.

The situation was awful for Sherry and me. (...was awful for me.)

John and I were out when the fire started. (I was out....)

She asked if she could come out with Mom and me. (...come out with me.)

Mom and I were happy to have her along. (I was happy...)

She thought she'd seen Dad and me at the store. (...she'd seen me.)

My best friend and I are going to the movies tonight. (I am going ...)

Tip: Imagine that the other person or people are not included in the sentence. It should then be obvious whether to use I or me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

to, too, and two

to /preposition/ , introduces a noun expression,
what is reached,aproached or touched. What is aimed at, as far as, what is caused or produced.

too /adverb/ to a greater extent than is desirable or permissible, in addition, also, moreover, more than a match for, beyond what is endurable.

two /adjective/ one more than one. A number greater than the number 1, symbol 2.

We are going to the movies.

Wont you come too?

The pain was too much for him to bear.

There were 2 birds in the tree.

I went to the store to buy 2 urns but they were too heavy for me to carry.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lose and Loose

Lose /verb/ unable to find, be deprived of or cease to have

Loose is a homonym and it can be used as a verb or an adjective.

Loose /adjective/ not tight,free from bounds or restraints.

Loose /verb/ to let go, release

Did you lose your necklace?

It was a loose fitting vest.

Let the dogs loose to track the fox.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Please forgive me!

I don't mean to hurt your feelings but it is one of the things that has been bothering me for some time. The use of the words "a lot". Notice this is two (2) words, not one (1).I have seen these 2 words written as "alot" on so many websites and blogs, even in some mail that I receive(e-mails and snail mail)and it is driving me up the wall. I did notice that people from other countries seem to have grasped this better than our own English speaking citizens. It makes me feel ashamed to think that foreigners can use our language better than the people who are born and raised in America.
So here it is Americans, plain and simple, learn your native language before you start writing.

Please forgive me if I have hurt your feelings, I just had to get that off my mind. Thanks a lot for reading and understanding.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

When to use a or an

This may come as a surprise to some but the rules you are taught in school
don't always apply. Take the word hour, that would sound funny if you said
a hour even though according to the rule, a is what you were taught to use.
An is used when the following word starts with a vowel, a,e,i,o,u.
But an is used not only when the word starts with a vowel, it is also used
with words that sound like they begin with a vowel. So next time say the word out loud to see if it sounds right. An hour, An honest person.
Because they have a silent h they are used with an. Please don't mistake the word an with the word "and" which is a conjunction or connective word.e.g, Jack and Jill, An apple and a pear.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Affect and Effect

Affect: /verb/ move emotionally, to influence

/noun/ result, consequence, bring about, accomplish

These 2 words causes much confusion because,
the word effect can also be used as a verb,
the word affect can also be used as a noun,
but mostly in terms of psychology and psychiatry.

When used in a sentence:

His insult did not affect her.

The movie had a sad affect on her.

What affect did the movie have on you?

His speech will effect the voters.

The movie had some good special effects.

The effect of the hurricane left them homeless.

Heres a tip to help you remember
think of affect= affection.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Who said ain't isn't a word?

For those of you who may have wondered about the word AIN'T
Yes! Ain't is a word and it's OK to use ain't when speaking or writing.
The only thing you need to remember is you can only use "ain't" with "I"

It's true that we should never say, "you ain't", "they ain't", "he ain't" or "she ain't" but we should say, without a smidgen of shame, "ain't I?" or "I ain't" rather than "aren't I". "Aren't I" is just as ungrammatical as "I aren't" Think about it this way, using I am not or am not I, as a verbal contraction it becomes the properly used ain't. You would never say are not I or I are not but you would say I am not or am not I.

I don't suggest that you run to your teacher or your boss or anyone else with this little bit of knowledge first thing tomorrow morning or tonight. We are still expected to coordinate the restitution of "ain't" to it's rightful position in the English language. And that my friend isn't likely to happen today or even tomorrow but it is time we all start thinking about it. At least it is nice to know that "ain't" refuses to go away despite the all-out assault it has suffered over the past years.

Then and Than

These are NOT homonyms nor homophones but they are the most misused words in the written English language.

Then /adverb/ at that time, next, after that, in that case, used parenthetically to resume a narrative.

Than /conjunction/ a comparison of another

When used in a sentence:

You wash the dishes,then I will dry them.

The test was harder than I expected.

Tent and tint

These are homophones

Tent /noun/ A canvas portable shelter or dwelling supported by poles and pegs.

Tint /noun/ A light or delicate variety of a color, a dye used for hair coloring.

When used in a sentence:

We used our tent when we went camping.

You can tint your hair green.

Your and You're

These are homophones

Your /possessive pronoun/ of or belonging to you. Ownership of an object or thing.

You're /contraction/ you are

When used in a sentence:

Your house is very beautiful.

You're doing very well with the project.

Read (& Reed) and Read (& Red)

Read and read homonym, Reed and Red are homophone

Read /verb/ (reed) to convert characters or symbols into the intended words or meanings. To interpret.

Reed /noun/ water or marsh plant with a firm stem, a strip of cane.

Read /verb/ (red) to understand words in written form.

Red /adjective/ color, tint or pigment

When used in a sentence:

I will read this book tomorrow.

The reed has a hollow stem.

I have read the instructions.

She wore a red ribbon in her hair

Buy, by, and bye

These are homophones

Buy /verb/ To obtain in exchange for money.

By /preposition/ near or beside, not later than, through, via, according to, expressing a multiplier or divisor, dimension of an area.

Bye (1) /noun/ status of an unpaired competitor in a sport, who proceeds to the next round by default.

Bye (2) /interjection/ a farewell, ending of conversation,

When used in a sentence:

Where did you buy your shoes?

Lay the two by four boards by the others.

Tell your aunt bye and hang up the telephone.

Friday, March 28, 2008

There, Their and They're

These are homophones

There /adverb/ In, at, or to that place or position. Used to indicate the fact or existence of something.

Their /possessive pronoun/ of or belonging to them. Ownership.

They're /verb contraction/ They are.

When used in a sentence:

I will arrive there by noon.

That is their new car.

They're going to the party.

Here and Hear

These are homophones

Here /adverb/ In or to this place. In this position. At this point. At this place.

Hear /noun/ perceived with the ear. Listen to.

When used in a sentence:

Place the books here on this desk.

I can hear you very well.