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The preferred way to stop a moving car is with BRAKES.

Stopping it with BREAKS has severe disadvantages - inherently something gets broken, and one's control over exactly what and how badly is not very reliable.
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The preferred way to stop a moving car is with BRAKES. Stopping it with BREAKS has severe disadvantages - inherently something gets broken, and one's control over exactly what and how badly is not very reliable.

I agree with that, would like to see more inciteful posts like it to educate people.

-n8
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"Reigns" is what a monarch does. "Reins" are used to control an animal - or, figuratively, other things. "Rains" come down from the sky and make things wet.
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A vice is a bad habit or self-indulgence.

A vise holds something so it won't move while you work on it.
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The twitter storms are definitely unpresidented.
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"Discrete" is in separate components - like a stereo system with receiver, turntable, amplifier, etc. being separate boxes connected by cables.

"Discreet" is quiet, avoids attention, and (sometimes) hopes to be unnoticed.
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The twitter storms are definitely unpresidented.


Might we even say.....unpresidential?
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Might we even say.....unpresidential?

I don't know... the word "unpresidented" was in our president's tweet.
I am skirting close to the "no politics" rule so I will stop there.
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Might we even say.....unpresidential?
*****************
I don't know... the word "unpresidented" was in our president's tweet.
I am skirting close to the "no politics" rule so I will stop there.


Ah -- didn't realize he had actually included "unpresidented" in a tweet.

I apologize for the slight whiff of "politics" in my comment. I realized I was skirting the edge, but it seemed pretty neutral compared to what I had initially thought of saying. ;-)

=sheila
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"Ya'll" is a contraction of a colloquial version of "you will".

"Y'all" is a contraction of "you all", which in some parts of the US is the second-person plural pronoun.

... also ...

A group of people working together in a somewhat-organized manner to jointly achieve some specific shared goal are "teaming". Often followed by "up".

An area where a group of people are milling about is "teeming".

A town square can be teeming, but it can never be teaming. To be teaming, it would have to join forces with another town square, or perhaps a city park, and the two (or more) of these pieces of real estate actually do something together.

(Both errors encountered in the same book.)
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"There" is a specific place that isn't here.

"Their" is a possessive pronoun functioning as an adjective; the noun it modifies belongs to those people, not to us or you.

"They're" is a contraction meaning "they are".
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Their's a word for that. :)
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Cue: a signal that some prearranged or predetermined action should be taken now; or a stick used as an implement to poke, and thus propel, an object in billiards or shuffleboard.

Queue: a line, as of people waiting their turn. (Not common in most of the US.)

Que: Spanish for "what"; or an abbreviation of "barbecue"; or an abbreviation of "Quebec".
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Cue...

Queue...

Que...



"Que" doesn't belong though. The first two are pronounced "kew" and the Spanish word is "kay." The letter Q is a homophone when pronounced as a letter of the alphabet.

=sheila
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"Que" doesn't belong though.

True. That one isn't a homophone. But it's often found in written material when one of the other two would be proper.
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Queue: a line, as of people waiting their turn. (Not common in most of the US.)

Where (in the US) is it more common than other places (in the US)?

I use it all the time as a technical term in my work (traffic engineering), and I'd guess most people who work in an office environment are familiar with the "print queue"--the basic 'first-in/first-out' arrangement. There are also 'first-in/last-out' queues, like elevators and some passenger boats.

Another interesting thing about queues is the reasoning behind why some commercial checkout areas use bank-style, or shared queuing, while others use individual-lane queues.

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/ericlippert/2009/08/20/queu...

But I digress.

-n8
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Another interesting thing about queues is the reasoning behind why some commercial checkout areas use bank-style, or shared queuing, while others use individual-lane queues.

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/ericlippert/2009/08/20/queu......

But I digress.


Love good digressions!

=sheila
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Pour is how you apply syrup to pancakes.

Pore is how you study logbooks, data, et cetera.

Poor is when you don't have much.
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The thing that is part of the harness for a draft animal, so that it can bear the load on its shoulders (bony structures) rather than its throat (soft tissue better suited for breathing, blood flow to the brain, and other such tasks), is a YOKE.

The yellow part of a bird-egg is a YOLK.
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The thing that is part of the harness for a draft animal...is a YOKE.

The yellow part of a bird-egg is a YOLK.


And some comedians like to tell what they call a good YOKE.

=sheila
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Early in the day I will sometimes listen to NPR's "Mourning Edition." Yes, it is sad to be up so early.

On Saturday I am wiped out from working all week. SO I listen to the NPR's less-challenging "Weakened Edition."

R:)
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"Die" is when something stops living. (It's also the technically-proper singular of dice, and in addition it's a mold or form that certain molten materials - usually metal - will be poured into.)

"Dye" is how the color of hair or fabric or certain other materials is changed.
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If you're awaiting something, and have such a fishy smell to the air you exhale that your cat is trying to climb into your mouth, you are waiting with baited breath.

If you're awaiting something so anxiously (or eagerly) that you stop breathing, you are waiting with bated breath.
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When you loose something, you release it from a constraint (such as a leash). This says nothing about whether you know where it is.

When you lose something, then you either no longer have it, don't know where it is, or both.

These aren't homophones (in most versions of English anyway), but they often get mixed up.
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"Death throes" are when the person is in the process of dying.

"Death throws" would, I suppose, be when Death grabs their soul, takes a look, and tosses it back into the body to continue living.
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"Death throws"

A decisive wrestling move?
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A sight is something seen.

A site is where something is (or happens).
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A sight is something seen.

A site is where something is (or happens).



And to stretch it a tad.....

A cite is a mention.
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A missile is a weapon that propels itself through the air (possibly through space) toward a target.

A missal is a book of (usually Catholic) religious rituals.
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A dismissal is a a spoken or written order of discharge.

A dismissile is a North Korean rocket that blows up right after launch.

Norm
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A dismissal is a a spoken or written order of discharge.

A dismissile is a North Korean rocket that blows up right after launch.


A rec is what a good post deserves.
A wreck is what this post is.
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"Should of".... offhand, I can't think of a situation where that would be grammatical.

The full expression is "should have".

The contraction is "should've".
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"Should of".... offhand, I can't think of a situation where that would be grammatical.

The full expression is "should have".

The contraction is "should've".



And "should of" is simply the phonetic spelling of "should've" by people whose education and reading levels aren't very good.

=sheila
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Probably a sacrilegious thought for this board, but - language evolves. I learnt British English before I learnt, erm, "real" English, and common phrases like "gotta go" and "wanna play" were quite jarring to my ears. Now I am, like, whatever. We progressed, if that's the word, from "habadedeima" to "had," this is one more step. As is "I have went/ran/came/..."
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Probably a sacrilegious thought for this board, but - language evolves.

Totally agree. Why should language be regarded as immutable? We communicate and express ourselves in various ways--with music, art, movement, language.... Why should evolution be part of the process for music and art and dance, but not for language!
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..."should of" is simply the phonetic spelling of "should've" by people whose education and reading levels aren't very good.

DW --not a native speaker -- couldn't believe it when I told her that some of my (college) students wrote "should of." (But this is pretty common.) A really odd mistake for a native speaker to make, DW thought.

Yes, it's a phonetic spelling. Likewise, in the case of the student who explained to me, and I think demonstrated, what she called one of the many "dementions of mind."

culcha
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"dementions of mind."

Now that one I *like*. And I know of a few people whom it fits...

... but I would use it as a deliberate pun, not as a misspelling of a different word.
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Why should evolution be part of the process for music and art and dance, but not for language!

Language should evolve... but not in ways that hinder communication.

"Should of" masks the original word far worse than the contracted form does, thus hindering communication (particularly with those unfamiliar with spoken English).
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"And "should of" is simply the phonetic spelling of "should've" by people whose education and reading levels aren't very good. "

We should of course realize that.

Norm
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Why should evolution be part of the process for music and art and dance, but not for language!
**************************************
Language should evolve... but not in ways that hinder communication.


It may hinder communication for some, and not affect it for others. Just as with the evolution of nonverbal forms of communication--different evolutionary directions, off-shoots, etc speak to some people, and not at all to others. What some hail as exciting advances, others may claim are ugly throwbacks.
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Not quite a homophone, but I've seen this one gotten wrong so often lately that I'm almost startled when someone gets it right...

A character who is wondering is puzzled or curious about something.

A character who is wandering is moving from place to place with no apparent goal or intention.
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I've seen this one gotten wrong so often lately that I'm almost startled when someone gets it right...

How puzzling. Because I've never ever encountered any confusion in the use of these words.


But I'll mention a confusion that just drives me up a wall. And it's a mis-use that's often done by people who absolutely should never be guilty of it.

"Regimen" vs "regime."
The number of medical people and physicians' websites talking about following a particular "regime" of medications, treatments, etc rather than "regimen"--it's hard to believe!

=sheila
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And an actual homonym.

You normally toe the line. This derives from foot-races, where having so much as a toenail across the starting line too early is a violation, but leaving even a half-inch gap is giving an edge to your competitors, so you want your toes to be as close to the line as possible but not over it.

If you tow the line, you're grabbing one end of it and dragging it to another location.
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Not exactly a homophone, but:

When you get information, you expand your choices.

When you march in formation, you limit your choices.
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Weather is rain, snow, sunshine, wind - stuff like that.

Whether is associated with doubts or options - one common use being "whether or not".
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"whether or not"

"Whether or not" should be used (IMO) only to emphasize that the choice or the range of outcomes doesn't matter. For example, "I will eat this entire ghost chili pepper whether it gives me severe stomach cramps or not."
People use it wrongly in cases where there is a genuine choice. "Him living comfortably post-retirement depends on whether or not he saves enough money now." IMO they should leave out the "or not" in this case.
My English teacher almost never endorsed most of the "whether or not" usage, she was always very strongly in favor of "whether."
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When rain is a possibility, you don't know whether the weather will interfere with your picnic plans.

=sheila
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Illicit is an adjective. Illicit (put a noun here) is naughty, morally or ethically improper, perhaps illegal.

Elicit is a verb. It means to draw forth, as a response, and can be used figuratively or literally.

Illicit sex can elicit harsh words from one's spouse.
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I can except that, present company accepted.
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Not homophones, but...

Voila - pronounced "vwa-lah", two syllables - is French for "there is". It's sometimes, in both French and English, the expression of arrival, either literal (the person you were just talking about entered the room) or figurative (you've reached the logical conclusion of an argument); this usage is usually preceded by "and" (or "et" in French).

Viola - pronounced "vi-oh-la", three syllables - is a musical instrument related to the violin, but slightly larger and lower in pitch.

Note the difference in the order of the vowels.
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Also...

Prescribed: Do that!

Proscribed: DON'T do that!

Just one vowel difference...
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"hypo" vs "hyper"... bad language design, QA must have been napping that day.
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If a group of people decide to turn themselves IN TO the police, they'll go to the police station. And depending on what happens afterward, they may end up wearing orange uniforms.

If a group of people decide to turn themselves INTO the police, they'll go to the police academy. And depending on what happens afterward, they may end up wearing blue uniforms.
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Whose is the possessive case of who (used as an adjective).

Who's is a contraction of who is.

Yet in recent years it became casually acceptable to use them interchangeably. Not just by hacks on twitter, but by so-called legitimate online publishers like The New York Times. And if a reader responds by pointing out the obvious error, he/she is verbally crucified by comments like "it doesn't matter because everyone knows what the writer meant".

Norm
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And if a reader responds by pointing out the obvious error, he/she is verbally crucified by comments like "it doesn't matter because everyone knows what the writer meant".

Anyone taking that attitude should be immediately dismissed from any employment where either writing, or teaching language to others, is a primary task.
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A PART

Notice the two A's.

The second one is A PART of a four-letter word.
The first one is APART from that word.
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BOARD is a piece of wood or some somewhat-wood-like-substance, of regular dimensions. It's also metaphorically a place where something is, as in "on board" (referring to being in/on a vehicle such as a boat) or "room and board" (where it refers to meals).

If there are holes in the piece of wood, they might have been BORED. (The internal diameter of the hole is its BORE.)

If you find this explanation tedious and uninteresting, then you are BORED by it.

BORING BEETLES are several species of beetle or beetle-larva (which, depends on the species) that bore holes in wood. Most people also find them uninteresting.
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A BOARD is also a governance group, eg, my condo board, the Board of Elections, Board of Education.

=sheila
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Horde: a large, often unorganized, group of individuals

Hoard: a supply of something in storage, often hidden

A cheat guide: if the things in the collection move of their own accord, the collection is a horde; if not, it's a hoard.
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Shear is a tool for cutting, such as scissors (in fact scissors are a subset of the tools called shears). Or a verb meaning to cut, as with such a tool. ALL of its meanings relate to cutting (although occasionally somewhat indirectly, as when the age of a sheep is expressed in terms of how often it has had its wool sheared off).

Sheer is a synonym for several things. One can have a sheer (abrupt, steep) cliff, or a sheer (nearly-transparent) piece of cloth, or sheer (simple, extreme) numbers, or sheer (complete, pure) nonsense.... but it has nothing to do with cutting.
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Near-homophones frequently confused:

Something that is EXASPERATING... well, that's kind of like "annoying". It bothers you in some way.

Something that is EXACERBATING is making something else (usually a problem, almost never a person) worse.
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The military's cannon-shells, missiles, etc. are ORDNANCE.

ORDINANCE (note the additional I) is something that comes out of a local legislative body, on paper. (Actually I can think of a few other things that frequently fit this description, but that's a subject for a different forum.)
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This isn't a homophone confusion, but your exasperating/exacerbating post made me thing of it. It is exasperating like crazy, and every time I hear it, my exasperation is exacerbated--especially because my husband actually thinks this commercial is using the word properly!!!!

The commercial, probably for an anti-pain/inflammation OTC--involves a young male athlete who is describing his experience when he injured himself playing whatever--hockey, perhaps, which is one of the sports we watch (along with soccer and football....forget the other stuff)--and he says: "The pain was insatiable!!" He'd never experienced anything like it before.

So I yell at the TV and say it's "excruciating" you idiot! Doesn't ANYone understand words these days? Didn't ANYone pick that up??" Then my adorable husband tells me insatiable makes perfect good sense. I explain that insatiable refers to an appetite of some kind that can't be satisfied. And his pain is excruciating, not insatiable. But my husband doesn't get it, for some odd reason. I gave up trying to provide clarity on that. But I can't help growling every frigging time that commercial comes on.

=sheila
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If the end of your arm is amputated, and you decline a prosthetic, that would be waiving your hand.

The gesture you make to greet someone is waving your hand.
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(this one isn't even a homophone)

Defiantly is the way a two-year-old acts when he definitely does not want to do what Mommy says.
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The following four all-caps-bold words are pronounced the same but have very different meanings.

Q - the name of a letter in the English alphabet; also, the code name of the chief gadget-maker of Her Majesty's Secret Service, the employer of one James Bond.

CUE - a signal or event indicating that it's time for someone to take a certain action; also, the main sort of stick used to play pool.

QUEUE - a line of people or objects waiting their turn for something; also, a prominent feature of a certain hairstyle most commonly seen in old Chinese artwork, consisting of a long braid down the back of the head and all other head-hair shaved off.

'QUE - primarily-Californian slang for "barbecue". Note the apostrophe at the front, indicating that it's a contraction.

------

The following two all-caps-bold words are pronounced differently from those above, but the same as each other, and also have very different meanings.

K - the name of a letter in the English alphabet

QUE - a Spanish word meaning "what". Also, archaic regional British-English, a cow or a half-farthing (a farthing, by the way, is a fourth of a penny).

------

The English words "key" and "quay" are pronounced differently from each other and from all the words above, and have unrelated meanings.
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Minding your K's and Q's -- this was a lot of fun!

=sheila
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Cay - a small, low island, has 2 pronunciations?
K and Key.
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/cay

😷
ralph
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This one is so amusingly bad I just have to quote the entire sentence. I encountered it in a Zootopia fanfic.

Rabbits cremated their dead as well, but they put the ashes in a communal Moslem.

I believe that's supposed to be a mausoleum. Which is technically incorrect, but less so than the term used - which refers to a person who worships Allah and reads the Koran.

A mausoleum, technically, is an above-ground structure erected to hold dead bodies in lieu of burying them.

The equivalent term, when only the ashes of cremated bodies will be put in the building, is columbarium.
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Pretty talented rabbits, though--wherever they thought they were placing the ashes!

=sheila
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If you keep a rope taught, you are making sure it does not forget its education.

If you keep a rope taut, you are not allowing any slack in it.
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[i]Steal[/i] yourself. Fake your own kidnapping.

[i]Steel[/i] yourself. Mentally brace yourself in preparation for receiving bad news.
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Compliment. Say something nice about.

Complement. Pair well with, metaphorically fill in the gaps...
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Compliment. Say something nice about.

Complement. Pair well with, metaphorically fill in the gaps...


And I compliment those who offer complementary items instead of complimentary ones.

=sheila
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And I compliment those who offer complementary items instead of complimentary ones.

Learn something new every day!

I just assumed they were "complimentary" as in a gift given as a compliment to my awesomeness.
Did not know they were "complements" to supply what was missing in my life.
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Oh my goodness!!!! Where was my brain!!!!

Thank you for the wake-up.

Revision: And I compliment those who offer complimentary items instead of complementary ones.

=sheila
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Shame on you, misleading a poor immigrant who unquestioningly assumes an American would know their language better than him :-P
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Shame on me indeed.

But at this point, relying on accurate knowledge of the native langugae by the average American, and probably many above that, is often a recipe for learning what not to do--except that it's considered to be correct.

I come across such a raft of cringe-worthy speech--spoken and written.

And now I'm part of it! ;-( I promise never to do that again!

Where are you from originally?

=sheila
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"relying on accurate knowledge of the native langugae by the average American....

Tempting, but I'll leave it alone.

RayB
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Where are you from originally?

The only country after which a whole ocean is named.
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The only country after which a whole ocean is named.

What part of India are you from? And what foods do you miss the most? Or can you basically fine the items/quality you need here?
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What part of India are you from? And what foods do you miss the most? Or can you basically fine the items/quality you need here?


Mumbai (Bombay) = New York of India, on its west coast.
Overall I miss the lovingly prepared home made food. Indian restaurants in US are decent but the food tests like restaurant food in India. US ingredients suck though, no flavor, only bulk. By the way I had the same experience visiting Guatemala, when they prepared a simple meal of tortillas beans salsa and grilled chicken for us. It was out of this world due to the high quality of flavorful ingredients.
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Velociraptors are vicious, not viscous.

Honey is viscous.
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Mumbai....the father of twins my son has been close friends with since kindergarten (they're all turning 40 now) is from Gujarat, but his family moved to Mumbai. So that's where they visit when they're in India. He's a fairly well-known color-field painter.

Totally agree re so much food in the US!!! There are some exceptions. But I haven't had a REAL tomato or strawberry in too many years now.

Thinking of food from India, though, brought to my memory one of our most favorite restaurants ever. It was just a few blocks from us (we live in west Greenwich Village), a tiny place that we were always sorry we hadn't discovered earlier. The owners/cook were from Bangladesh. The place was simple as could be. And the food was incredible. And ruined us for other places serving Indian food. The sad ending is that they had a bad fire and couldn't afford to rebuild.

=sheila
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Velociraptors are vicious, not viscous.

Honey is viscous.


You haven't met my honey.
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If you are weary, take a nap.

If you are wary, stay alert.
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I am chary of cherries.
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Cheap is inexpensive, or shoddily made, or both.

Cheep is a noise. Some birds make this noise. So, sometimes, do car brakes with a bit of brake dust, and other mechanical contrivances.
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But do you know what is cheepest?
I told Maria a joke so funny that cheepest her pants!
(Sorry!)
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And how about......

Q: Are you going to resign from your position?

A: Nope. I'm going to re-sign.

=sheila
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