The English language is a minefield where spelling and pronunciation are concerned. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most difficult languages to learn.
We have words that are spelt the same or pronounced the same but have different meanings (homonym) and words that are spelt differently but pronounced the same and have different meanings (homophone).
Just to recap here:
Homonym = Two or more words spelt the same or pronounced the same but having different meanings.
Who’s versus Whose?
Homophones are sound-alike words. They are spelt differently but sound the same.
Each word has a distinct meaning. If in doubt consult your dictionary or style book. A good proofreader will pick up mistakes such as these but it’s best to get it right in the first place.
So, when do you use who’s and when do you use whose and how do you remember which is which? Continue reading
This is one you often see written incorrectly (usually it’s there and their that are confused). All three words sound just the same – a homophone.
However, each one has a very distinct meaning. When in doubt consult your dictionary or style book.
A good proofreader will pick up mistakes such as these but it’s best to get it right in the first place.
To put it simply: Continue reading
I came across the word oronym while researching the meanings of homophones, homonyms, homographs, and such.
Until I discovered the word, I had no idea there was such a name for a concept I was more than familiar with. Given the way the English language is structured and spoken, it should have come as no surprise.
Homophones are words that sound alike but don’t necessarily have similar meanings; they could have totally different definitions.
However, there are some that not only sound alike but also have similar meanings. That’s what I want to tackle here.
Sound-alike words with similar meanings
Do you ever wonder whether to use one word over another when they both seem to mean the same or similar things? I know I do. This is when the dictionary comes out.
I’ve chosen three examples that I’ve had trouble with in the past. I thought (before I started writing this post) that I had a fairly clear, albeit slightly clouded, grip on the differences in meaning.