Typos Hurt Your Writing: Bear, Dear, Fear, Gear, Hear, Lear, Near, Pear, Rear, Sear, Tear, Wear, and Year
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 of these on Twitter search for 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 boo-boos that you want and deserve. I find these invisible spelling errors in 95% of published books.
Now, onto today’s episode!
We have a baker’s dozen of common words, 13 four-letter words that end in –ear. This logophile’s delight will provide some tasty treats for us. Make yourself comfortable.
Bear is a very busy and complex word. Used primarily as a verb, it has many shades of meaning: carry, support, endure, birth, and proceed in a certain direction. Secondarily, it functions as a noun: it can refer to a large carnivorous mammal, or a teddy bear; which is similar and quite different from the animal! It is a nickname for Russia, a phase of the stock market, and astronomers are familiar with the big bear and the little bear.
Dear is not another animal. But this word really works hard, wearing many different hats. First, as a noun it refers to someone who is beloved, it can also be used as an affectionate or comfortable reference to a friend. It is busy as an adjective: we have dear friends, it is part of a polite greeting or introduction, the formal start of a letter, something that exudes sweetness or is captivating can be called dear, like a dear kitten! It can also refer to something that is very expensive. It can also serve as an adverb or part of an exclamation: “Oh dear, I spilled my coffee!”
Fear, as a noun, is an unpleasant emotion. It can serve as a warning that something is wrong or dangerous. In extreme situations it can cause the amygdala to release hormones that cascade over certain parts of the brain, short-circuiting higher mental functions and preparing the body for fight or flight. It can refer to anxiety, a lower level of the same emotion. It is not all bad, holy awe is a mixture of love and fear of God. Fear also serves as a verb: to be afraid of something dangerous or painful, feel anxiety or apprehension, avoid doing something, apologize for something or express regret.
Gear is a toothed wheel that changes mechanical power when it operates. Got that technical definition out of the way. As a noun it can also refer to equipment or clothing designed for a specific purpose. Sailors recognize the word refers to the rigging of a ship.
Hear is a verb. It means to perceive with the ear a sound of some nature. There are many variations on that basic definition, you can be told or informed of something, you must pay attention, the committee will hear your complaint, a judge and jury will hear your case.
Lear is the central figure in a play by William Shakespeare, “King Lear”. Though a figure of legend in Great Britain, he might be real because he was mentioned by an ancient historian Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Near is one of those words that work behind the scenes. It serves as an adverb, adjective, preposition, and a verb. We use it to describe relationships of time and distance, something close to perfection or similar to something else.
Pear is quite the opposite of the previous word. This word has the narrowest of definitions. It refers to a specific type of tree that bears fruit of the same name. There is a lot of variety of pears, I love to eat a juicy, ripe pear.
Rear is another of those dual function words. It works as a noun and a verb, therefore context can be critical for understanding at times. We talk about the back part of something with this word, the back of a building or a line. We can also refer to the south end of a north bound dog. As a verb there are two main definitions, we rear or raise children, farmers grow crops and animals. Secondarily, it means to raise upright such as a ladder or a horse on hind legs.
Sear is a pretty simple word. It means to burn or scorch with a sudden or intense heat. A cook might sear some food to lock in moisture. A fire will prevent plant growth for a period of time. Pain can be described as burning or searing. Emotions can become less sensitive to trauma because of repeated exposure.
Tear is another word with dual definitions and usage within each as a noun and verb. First it means to use force to dismantle something or make a hole. The noun form is that hole. We have imbued the word with slightly different connotations also, people talk about the person who wins almost every contest as being on a tear. The second meaning is very limited but none the less important. When we are full of emotion or pain our eyes might secrete a salty fluid: the tears will flow when we cry; or for the macho guys, when your eyes get sweaty.
Wear mostly serves us as a verb, an action word. First and foremost, we put things on our body for decoration and protection. We might wear a smile on our face all the time to hide emotions. In the maritime industry, a ship will wear or fly a flag. Second, we have the concept of erosion or degrading over time. A timing belt should be replaced before it wears out and breaks. Not always a negative thing, thirdly, we can talk about how well the paint is wearing on the house. Of course, the noun forms refer to the things we put on or the damage of the thing.
Year is the length of time required for a planet to complete one revolution around a sun. Our solar year is comprised of just over 365 days. For business purposes, much of the world uses a 12 month calendar as a year, but other calendars do exist. A group of students in a multi-year program, who started at the same time, can be described as being first year, second year or more.
There they are, thirteen words with similar sounds and the same last three letters. If you use the wrong word, the reader could feel like they tripped on a root and might fall down, as they read 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.
Don’t forget the free offer for writers under the “Learn More” tab on our website. I offer another service at a great value, see the “Review Your Book” tab.
Remember: Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.
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.
We understand how important it is to have a manuscript free of spelling errors. With over 40 years of experience, we 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.
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, we hope you enjoyed this issue of Typos Hurt Your Writing on Words For Thought. Follow us on twitter: @wordrefiner; for more Hazardous Homophones and Terrible Typos search for #HomophonesHurtYourWriting and #TyposHurtYourWriting on twitter.
Don’t forget the free offer for writers under the “Learn More” tab on our website. We offer another service at a great value, see the “Review Your Book” tab.
Remember: Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.
An avid reader and hyper speller. I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
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