Typographical errors are thought to be a thing of the past by casual observers of the written word, They innocently think the computer spellchecker solves that problem. Those of us who labor in the written arts know all too better to the contrary. I find spelling errors in 95% of published books. While computer spellcheckers do a nice job of finding and correcting some typographical mistakes, they fail when the mistyped word is a correctly spelled word. Authors and other writers understand this problem well.
We are going to look at a prime example of this issue, there are many others that we will discuss later. We have four words that start and end the same, the only difference is the letter in the second position: Gall, Gill, Goll, and Gull. Here we go!
Gall has two main meanings: 1st is bad manners or impudent behavior. The 2nd is medical, related to the gallbladder or spleen. Gall is a bitter substance which aids in digestion.
Gill is the organ by which a fish extracts oxygen from the water and is able to breathe. Fish and some amphibians have two on their body. Gill or gills, rather, are also a structure found on the underside of a mushroom cap.
Goll is an archaic British word meaning hand or claw. So its use is limited for a lot of writers.
Gull is a bird that populates coastal areas and is very comfortable around people. Some call them sky-rats because they scavenge and eat almost anything like those rodents.
I was hoping to be able to use the word Gell. But it is another archaic word originating in Scotland, it means girl. So I decided to leave it out of the main list but could not resist the mention as a word-nerd.
We found another old word from The United Kingdom, it has five letters and thus was excluded from the main list. We include it at no extra charge here.
Ghyll means a deep wooded ravine, or a narrow mountain stream. It has a nice ring to it.
Thank you for joining us today. If there are other words that you would like to see examined, please leave a comment. There they are, three words with different sounds and a somewhat related history. If you use the wrong word the reader might think they hit an invisible tree root and lose the reading momentum you worked so hard to build. Use every tool available to prevent that from happening, do not give your readers a reason to not finish your story. Use Word Refiner, beta readers, critique partners, proofreaders and editors to ensure that your work is error free and as smooth as possible.
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Remember: Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.