Editing for Grammarphobes: Homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same, but have different meanings. Here are examples of five such word sets.


Rein, reign, rain

Rein is the leather strap for controlling a horse.

Reign is the period a ruler is on the throne.

This sort of rain falls from the sky.


There, their, they’re

There is an adverb indicating direction, according to The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law.

Example:

Look over there.

The girls went there for dinner.


It can also be used with a pronoun for impersonal constructions in which the real subject follows the verb.

Example:

There is no room at the inn.


Their is a possessive pronoun.

Example:

They went to their house to watch movies.


They’re is the contraction for there are.


Site, cite, sight


Site is a location or the place of something. It can also be a website.

Cite means to quote a source.

Sight is to see.


Compliment, complement

AP Style makes the distinction of a complement is “a noun and a verb denoting completeness or the process of something.”

Example:

“The ship has a complement of 200 sailors and 20 officers.

That tie complements his suit.”


Compliment is a nice thing said to someone.

Example:

He gave her a compliment on her dress.


Hoard, horde

Hoard is to amass things.

Horde is a large group or a nomadic tribe, according to Yahoo! dictionary.


Trivia Question:

What is the difference between homophones and homonymns?

Please post your answer in the comments section.

The first to respond correctly to last week's question was Mary McDonald. Way to go!

Q. What did E.B. White write?

A. Charlotte's Web. (He penned Stuart Little as well, plus many other books for adults and children. White was also a contributor to The New Yorker.)



Comments

L.C. Evans said…
Nice post and a good reminder to use proofreading and not spell checking.

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