Saturday, April 9, 2011

"H" is for Homonym

My "H" for the A-Z Blogging Challenge is the incredibly frightening and often abused homonym.

Why are people afraid of them, and why are they abused?  Because a lot of people don't know what homonyms are.  So, I'll tell you.  Homonyms are words that sound the same but have different meanings, but they can be broken down even more into two categories: Homographs are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings, and homophones are words that sound the same when you pronounce them but have different meanings.

Why am I prepared to rant about homonyms?  Because Facebook is making me.  I'm totally serious.  You have no idea how many people's posts I come across who use these words incorrectly, among many, many others.  It makes me ragey.

Anyway, homonyms cause a lot of confusion, even with basic writing.  Mistakes I see often, even with adults, involve the improper use of "they're" (contraction of "they are"), "there" (shows location), and "their" (shows possession).  Or "your" (shows possession) and "you're" (contraction of "you are").  Or even "two" (the number), "to" (expressing motion or location), and "too" (in addition).

So, for the love of Jesus on a Velociraptor, don't post something like this on your friend's Facebook wall: "Is the party at you're house or there house?" **FACEPUNCH**

And the next time I see a line like, "He put his hands around my waste," I certainly hope the writer meant something like this ----->

....and NOT something that will make me want to scoop my eyeballs out with a grapefruit spoon.  Because, as this freaked-out cat will attest, what has been seen cannot be unseen.  Or unread.  And I'd tell that guy to keep his disgusting hands off of my waste.

Other popular homonyms include tail/tale, toe/tow, week/weak, reel/real, pail/pale, made/maid, bear/bare, and even right/write.  Before you leave me an awesome comment, scroll up and take a look at the title of this blog.  And yes, I did that on purpose.  I had to come up with a title and didn't have time to waste/waist.

xoxo Sarah


  1. Confusing than and then gripes me. Also its and it's. (The one time I pointed it out to someone, they came after me with pitchforks.) Now I can just give 'em a link to this post instead! :)

  2. LOL 'ragey'! I have a huge grammer grudge, Facebook makes me wnat to kill people sometimes. thank you for being awesome.

  3. I know this one's a bit different, but what drives me nuts is a friend on FB who always posts "greatful." She's greatful. Great and full of what? Argh!

    Good luck on the A to Z Challenge!

  4. Hehehe... I agree that there are a lot of people out there who seem to get confused, but sometimes, these are genuine mistakes. My apostrophe key is dead, and I actually use the on-screen keyboard just for that one stupid key. But that's just me. Most people probably wouldn't bother, and assume that they will be understood.
    Not a lot of excuses for 'waste' and 'greatful' though.. :\
    Nice post.. I enjoyed reading it.. And Happy A-Zing.. :) :)

  5. lol! Yes, my waste is my own, thank you very much. Love love love the humor on this blog - and the sunset over the water pic is pretty amazing too.

  6. @li: Thank you! Yes, "then" and "than" are biggies as well. I just think a lot of this comes from inadequate grammar teaching in high school. The teachers often can't concentrate on it because they have so much other material to get through. :-(

    @Siobhan: I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets mad at FB posts.

    @Shannon: Ooh, I never thought of that one! That would be very irritating for me. I'd be tempted to post that she's full of something, but not "great," lol. Just kidding.

    @PencilGirl: There are definitely lots of regular old mistakes out there, that's for sure. I always hit the "I" or "O" keys whenever I want the opposite one and have to go back and fix it. Makes for some interesting spellings, haha, but I usually catch them.

    @Goddess: I'm so glad you like the funny! I try my best to add it in there, and it means a lot to hear you're enjoying it. :-)

  7. I'm so happy to find I'm not alone, grammatical errors are a huge pet peeve of mine. I'm nervous, what if there are one or more in this comment?! Thanks for addressing this fairly prevalent problem. Found you from the A-Z Challenge, I’m now following you on GFC and I hope you have a chance to check out my blog!

  8. Haha, I wouldn't worry too much, Monica. The innocent ones I can's the repeated and obvious errors that drive me up the wall. I'm going to check out your blog right now! Thank you for being my #70. :-)

  9. Excellent post, I'm always reminding my students there is a location like here, so just add a t in front. I cringe whenever I see my teen girl's facebook - but even worse is when adults do it. Ugh.

    For a great example just search Youtube for 'a dramatic reading of a real break up letter'. It's so terrible it's almost poetry.

    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

  10. I'll definitely have to check that out! Hilarious dramatic readings always make me smile. Great tip on how to figure out which "there" to use for location. :-)