Welcome to this edition of Words For Thought, the blog on wordrefiner.com. Like some of the previous blogs we are exploring typographical errors. Words that look almost the same, but have different spellings and meanings. To find more on Twitter use the hashtag: #TyposHurtYourWriting.
I understand how important it is to have a manuscript free of spelling errors. With over 40 years of experience, I have found that typos give many writers problems. Less than perfect typing can create hidden errors. There are many groups of words that vary by only one letter, such as came, dame, fame and game. The correctly spelled word in the wrong context will not be flagged by most spell-checkers. The Hyper-Speller at Word Refiner is dedicated to exposing all of these hidden errors and providing your document free of spelling errors that you want and deserve. I find these invisible spelling errors in 95% of published books.
Now, onto today’s episode!
Something nice has been cooked up for us today! We have a dozen four-letter words that end in the same three letters –ain. Are we ready for a tasty treat fellow word-nerds? Grab your favorite hot beverage and settle in.
Cain is word that refers to a murder, particularly someone who has committed fratricide, killing a brother or sister. Cain was the name of Adam and Eve’s first son, he was a farmer and killed his brother in a religious rage. You can find the entire story in the Bible, book of Genesis, chapter 4.
Fain is an archaic word, reaching us from Old English and German. It means that you are happy or well pleased considering the circumstances of the moment. It is a pretty word, with an interesting shade of polite reluctance; and I am sorry it is not in common use.
Gain has been in use for a long time, since the 15th century. It comes to us from Germanic and Old French and used to refer to pirates’ treasure or booty. Now, booty is a word that has really changed! Gain has verb and noun forms and primarily means an increase in wealth, riches or some other factor such as weight; which has a negative connotation for a lot of people.
Kain. I am almost embarrassed to include this word in the list, but my desire to be thorough overrides that feeling. Am I OCD? Not enough to be very dangerous. This word is a variant spelling of Cain. See above, and after all, we are all about spelling at wordrefiner. Thank you for your indulgence.
Lain is the past participle of Lie. If we are told something has lain for a period of time, we know it has not moved or has been in a horizontal position during this period of time.
Main, you know, the primary person, the one with chief importance. Something of paramount size. There are a lot of adjectives that can be used in place of Main. It can also be a noun such as a gas, water or electrical main. Have you heard of the Spanish Main? Historical literature uses the term to refer to open ocean. It can also refer to a sail on a sailing vessel.
Pain ouch! There are two versions of the noun form. First is the effect of an injury or illness that causes physical discomfort or suffering. One of the first words mom teaches a little one is hot, she wants her baby to avoid suffering pain. The second noun form is quite unrelated to the first, it means that great care is taken or great efforts made to achieve a specific result. I take great pains to be sure there are no spelling errors in my blog. How would that look? The hyper-speller is human!?
Rain. Sometimes we can’t get enough of the wet stuff, sometimes we get too much. This word is not just about water falling from the sky, it carries a concept of many things coming down from above. Hot ash can rain down after a volcanic explosion. It can also get personal, such as the boxer rains blows down on his stupefied opponent.
Sain, one of those obscure scrabble words. It is an archaic term that means to make the sign of the cross as a blessing or protection.
Tain, another word only a scrabble nerd would love. I have not played scrabble in years. My friends and family won’t play with me. This word can mean a thin plate, and can refer to the silverfoil used to make a mirror a long time ago.
Vain has been with us for long time, reaching us from Latin and continuing through Old French. It means someone who thinks far more highly of themselves than other people do, such as having an inflated ego. It can also refer to a useless attempt, something with no chance of success. Like asking a two year old to put the toys away.
Wain, another one of those archaic words. It was a word for wagon. Who would have thought?
There they are, twelve words with similar sounds and the same last three letters. If you use the wrong word the reader might feel like they have a flat tire and the drive just got real bumpy as they cruise through your book. They may feel like leaving your story, because it is too hard to figure out what you are saying. Do everything in your power to prevent that from happening, do not give your reader a reason to close your book. Use Word Refiner, beta readers, critique partners, proofreaders and editors to ensure that your work is error free and as smooth as possible.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this issue of Typos Hurt Your Writing on Words For Thought. Follow me on twitter: @wordrefiner; for more Hazardous Homophones and Terrible Typos search for #HomophonesHurtYourWriting and #TyposHurtYourWriting on twitter.
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Remember: Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.
Copyright © 2016 Mark L Schultz
An avid reader and hyper speller. I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
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