Thursday, May 16, 2013

Word Trips

My word trips pertain to words that make me trip over spelling or meaning. I seldom have spelling problems with run-of-the-mill homophones. The more obscure terms tend to trip me up—as do words that have almost the same spelling, and words and names that have doubled consonants. A few other words that I pause over result from the schwa pronunciations. I've compiled a list of words and names, with hopefully helpful links for others who have run across similar issues.
Some proper names have stumped me for proper spelling. In compiling them, the next four have a nice pattern of two r's, then one r.
  • Borrero
  • Barrera
  • Carrera
  • Ferrari
With the schwa effect for the next set of proper nouns, most sound the same. And all four names exist. Just gotta look 'em up.
  • Connor, Conner
  • Johnson, Johnston
  • Lesley, Leslie
  • Lindsay, Lindsey
  • Mc-, Mac-
  • Peterson, Petersen
Commenter, commentor, and commentator cause me confusion because of
  • similarity for pronunciation (schwa effect for commenter and commentor)
  • similarity for function (commenter and commentator)
Three food items, besides making me think of eating, have dissimilar consonant duplications:
  • broccoli, with two c's, then single consonant
  • cannoli, with the first vowel as a sound hazard, two n's, then single consonant
    (It's a bit disturbing that my Dreamweaver spellcheck halted at "cannoli"—twice!)
  • mozzarella, with two z's, one r, two l's
Alas, mozzarella has caused me a lot of grief with three potential doubled-up consonants. I think I have it now. Related: A non-food word that no longer gives me problems is accommodate. Double the first two consonants, and think of the final syllable as a date.
A pair of words that still trip me up are the noun forms of acknowledge and judge. From the looks of things, an "e" preceding "-ment" might come into increasing adoption with time passage.
Copyright makes me pause because it sounds like copywrite. A thought trickle, rather than thought stream is as follows: copyright, copywriter (A copywriter writes copy, but does not copywrite.)

One conclusion I came up with in my exercise of lookups is that Google search is excellent for suggested spelling because of its autofill feature.

So, what words and names cause you to trip or pause?

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