Oronyms: Egg Samples to Help you Real Eyes the Meaning of the Word

Fork handlesHere’s a fun one. While researching the meanings of homophones, homonyms, homographs and such, I came across the word oronym.

Until I discovered it 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.

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Homophones: Sound-Alike Words

typewriter_jam

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.

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Plane English or speaking plainly? Use your own words

fixedwing

Language is what we rely on to understand something we are being told. We expect to know what it means. The only way we can do that is if the giver of the information delivers it clearly.

Your choice of words, the sequence you put them in and the structure of your sentences will set the feel and flavour of your writing as well as making it legible and intelligible.

Making ourselves understood

Some time ago I was listening to the radio and an official from the Coastguard Service was talking about deploying their ‘fixed-wing assets’. It took me a few seconds to realise she meant aircraft.

Specialist language is fine when you are talking to colleagues in your own profession, or when writing for a book – or a magazine – with a specific area of interest, but a novel needs to be more far-reaching than that. As writers we want to reach the widest audience possible.

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They’re There Their

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

The Meanings of Words – Synecdoche

SynecdocheSynecdoche. What a wonderful word!

Someone mentioned the film, ‘Synecdoche, New York’ to me the other day. I’d never heard of it. I’d never heard the word synecdoche either so (as it was such a tantalising word) I decided to look it up – of course.

That’s what we writers and readers do because we want to extend our repertoire of words and understanding.

The best definition I found was on Wikipedia.

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Homophone to Homonym : Dessert, Desert, Desert

Desert DessertThe 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.

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Homophones: Sound-Alike Words – Whose and Who’s

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

What Would You Of Done?

What would you of done?

In England, particularly, the word have is often pronounced to sound like of, as in, “What would you of done?” or “I could of done something about it”. This is also how people will write it!

Actually, in that very English of ways, what people are really saying is, “I could ‘av done something about it”. They’ve dropped the h in have and it sounds like of.

It doesn’t take much investigating to reveal that of is the wrong word to be using given the context demonstrated above.

The dictionary definition of the word of is as follows:  Continue reading