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

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.