Homographs and Homophones

It is so important for writers to carefully consider every word they put on the page and ensure it's the correct word. You will quickly turn off a reader by publishing the phrase "[he] peaks my interest" and your credibility will tank. In order to show that you are a great writer, take great care with the details.

Despite my broad vocabulary, I frequently use a dictionary to make sure the word used in the content is the correct word. I'm not ashamed to make this statement. I use my resources to make the correct decision.

Whether you have an old, dog-eared paperback copy or utilize one of many on-line dictionaries available, don't hesitate to use it. There are also dozens of on-line grammar resources for using tricky words properly.

Below are a few examples of words that are often - quite innocently - misused, but are frustrating nonetheless.

peak vs. pique: peak = the pointed top of anything. Ex. "the peak of the mountain" pique = to arouse an emotion or provoke to action, Ex. "that comment piques my interest"

mute vs. moot: mute = not emitting or having sound of any kind. Ex. "He was born mute." moot = of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic. Ex. "that is a moot point"

hanger vs. hangar: hanger =a contrivance on which things are hung, as a hook. Ex. "she hung the dress on a plastic hanger" hangar = any relatively wide structure used for housing airplanes or airships. Ex. "his airplane was sheltered in the hangar"

capital vs. capitol: capital = the city or town that is the official seat of government in a country, state, etc. Ex: "Topeka is the capital of Kansas" capitol = a building occupied by a state legislature. Ex. "the representatives met at the capitol"

passed vs. past: passed = past tense of pass. Ex. "the speeding car passed me on the highway" past = gone by or elapsed in time. Ex. "during the past year" OR so as to pass by or beyond. Ex. "the troops marched past" OR beyond in time; later than; after. Ex. "past noon; half past six"

pore vs. pour: pore = to read carefully. Ex. "she pored over the proposal document" pour = to cause a flow. Ex. "he poured the milk into a glass"

bated vs. baited: bated = adjective. Ex. "she waited with bated breath" baited = verb. Ex. "she baited him with her eyes"

Resource: 200 homonyms, homophones and homographs.


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