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!
We have struck some serious paydirt searching for 4-letter words that end in ill. This is a little bit of Scrabble heaven for people who love the game. We have 17, count them, 17 4-letter words ending in ill. This is the highest hill we have climbed yet. Gird up your loins and burnish your shackles, we are going to have some fun!
Bill is a very talented word. It has worked hard in many places for a long time. An amount of money owed for goods or services provided. A draft of proposed legislation. A list of happenings in a theater or other event. Paper money, such as a ten dollar bill. A poster promoting a one-time event like a concert. The beak of a duck or other bird, and the muzzle of a platypus. The pointy part of an anchor. The rigid brim of a cap. A medieval weapon with a long handle and a hook.
Dill is so much simpler. It is an herb used in flavoring food and for medicinal purposes. I love dill pickles!
Fill has many shades of meaning also. Put something into a container until no more will fit. The barrel was full of wine. The crushed mint filled the room with a powerful scent. The judge was appointed to the vacated office for the rest of the term. The prescribed medicine was filled by the pharmacist. The wind filled the sails.
Gill is like a lung for a fish. You can also find them on the underside of the cap of a many mushrooms and toadstools.
Hill is an area of land that is higher than the surroundings. It is much lower than a mountain. It is used informally in America to refer to Capitol Hill. You can also pile dirt around a plant to give it support.
Jill is a young woman. It can refer to Jill-of-all-trades. It is also the term for a female ferret.
Kill means much more than ending a life. Legally, it differs from murder because it is sanctioned or allowed by legal authority. Writers cause the death of characters in many different ways. The board voted to kill the amendment to the motion. You can take medicine to kill pain. After an unusually long hike, your feet might be in greater distress than usual, your feet are killing you. You can waste time, you can shut off the engine.
Mill is a place or equipment to grind grain into a flour. A building or machinery for manufacturing such as a steel mill. The regular ribbed markings on the edge of a coin protect against clipping of the valuable material. People or animals that are wandering around without purpose. It is a minute monetary unit worth 1/1000 of a dollar or 1/10 of a cent.
Nill is an obscure word from a long time ago. It means to be unwilling or to refuse. It came from Old English and Middle English. There is a related phrase “willy nilly”, it means whether a person likes it or not, or something done without planning.
Pill is a small round solid object that is swallowed for medicinal or health reasons. It can refer to a person that is unpleasant and tedious. It can refer to a ball for a game. It can also mean the small round tufts that appear on fabric that mar the appearance.
Rill is a small stream or creek that is flowing rapidly. Something that is indented with small grooves. It can also refer to a narrow channel on the surface of the moon.
Sill is the base of a door or window. It can also refer to the material such as wood, stone or metal that make the sill. Geologically, it is a horizontal sheet of igneous rock that is between other types of rock.
Till is a shortened form of until. I do not think a lot was gained by that contraction of until. Just saying. It refers to a cash drawer in a store or other place of business. The farmers out there know it means to prepare and cultivate the land for planting a crop. Geologists are reminded of the stony material left behind by receding glaciers.
Vill is another archaic term from English of long ago. It refers to a parcel of land, like a manor or parish. A little bigger than your average backyard, I think.
Will is a very common word. We use it a lot without even thinking of the technicalities that surround it. It is known as a modal or helping verb, it is used to express possibility, ability, obligation or permission. It is used for expressing future tense, inevitable events, expressing a request, expressing facts about ability or capacity, or expressing habitual behavior. Will is also a noun and can refer to determination, resolve and strength of character. It is also a legal document that does not take effect until after the maker dies.
Yill is another ancient word, this one from Scotland. It refers to beer or ale.
Zill is my favorite word in this group. It is a tiny percussion instrument, a cymbal that is worn on a finger, in pairs. They are used by belly dancers.
There they are, seventeen words with similar sounds and the same last three letters. If you use the wrong word the reader might feel like they tripped over a hidden root as they walk through the forest of 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 or #TyposHurtYourWriting on twitter.
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Remember: Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.