Friday, October 30, 2009

Homophones—Hear There Everywhere

[This article originally posted to on September 16, 2009]
Homophones are dissimilar words that sound the same. Their incorrect usages are especially pervasive on the web—in comments sections in articles, blogs, and forums—where people share their opinions. Professionally written articles tend to have fewer instances of incorrect homophones.

Note: I cribbed various definitions from

Listing misused homophones below, somewhat sorted regarding the ones I seem to encounter most frequently—YMMV:
  • its (singular possessive adjective), it's (contraction for "it is")
  • to (toward), two (2nd number), too (also)
  • your (possessive adjective), you're (contraction for "you are")
  • there (location away), their (plural possessive adjective), they're (contraction for "they are")
  • whose (possessive adjective), who's (contraction for "who is")
  • here (location near), hear (to aurally sense)
  • site (location), sight (view), cite (to quote or attribute)
  • roll (bread shape), role (person's function)
  • wait (to spend time), weight (gravitational pull)
  • strait (example better here—strait jacket, dire straits), straight (example better here—straight arrow)
  • rite (ceremony), right (correct, make correct, political leaning)
  • hair ("crowning glory"), hare (long-eared rodent)
  • hour (division of time), our (plural possessive adjective)
  • air (Definition needed?), heir (recipient of property, usually blood-related), err (make mistake)
  • birth (a beginning or to cause a beginning), berth (a space allotment)
  • wear (clothing or to put something on self or to erode), ware (item)
Listing near-homophones below (homonyms, if you agree with the assertion at They lost me with the second sentence. "Homonyms are words that similar, but have very different meanings. Other examples of homonyms are two/to/too, accept/except, and there/their/they're."
With increasing popularity of text messaging, people are not only uploading thoughts wherever or whenever, using multiple choices of tools, they're adding more homophones in the form of newer abbreviations. A couple of examples are "U" for "you", and "UR" for "you're" or "your".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like this fun stuff.


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