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 booboos that you want and deserve. I find these invisible spelling errors in 95% of published books.
Now, onto today’s episode!
We have 11 4-letter words built on the foundation of a very common word ARE. Sit back and relax as we see how these words stack up.
Bare is a word that has been part of the English vernacular for a long time. While it has many shades of meaning, the essence is being naked or stripped. We talk about the bare deciduous trees in winter, when they lose their leaves. The detective wants the bare facts about the case. It is really hard to write a synopsis of a story because it is so bare. In an election 51% is a bare majority. We use this word primarily as an adjective, but it serves as a verb also. He proudly bared his chest to show his new tattoo. It also gets misused for the word bear because they are homonyms.
Care serves as a noun much of the time. We use it to describe the concepts of safekeeping, guarding and supervising. We care for a baby. It also has a negative side in terms of neglect and thoughtlessness. He bought a bus ticket for the first bus out of town because he didn’t care where he was going, only where he was from. This word easily transitions to a verb in our language. We consider that we may have concern for someone, or think something is very important to us. We might feel affection towards someone or desire to have a cup of tea. We can accept responsibility for something or someone.
CARE is also an acronym: Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere. Remember CARE packages? CARE is a private organization dedicated to providing emergency and long-term assistance to people in need all over the world.
Dare has been declining in use for many years, unless you are a pre-teen. Think about Ralphie in the popular seasonal movie from 1983 “A Christmas Story”. It is about courage, accepting a challenge, and sometimes foolish choices.
Fare has been in use for a long time. One of the earliest definitions involved a knight traveling: “The knight fared forth in spring.” Travel still constitutes one of the primary definitions, now it is the money paid to travel on public transit. Another archaic meaning revolved around consuming food, “Tavern fare in most villages is simple and somewhat meager.” We still use the word to speak about types of regional foods. As a verb it is more about performance, results and consequences.
Hare is often mistaken for a large rabbit. It has long ears, and very long hind legs. Consequently, it is very fast and lives in open grassy areas and on the edge of wooded areas. The Brits use it as a verb sometimes, “The backfire scared the cat and it hared off for the backyard!” Those who frequent dog races know the hare is an electric device that looks like a rabbit for the dogs to chase around the track.
Mare we have three separate and distinct definitions. Anyone who has spent much time around horses know this refers to an adult female horse or other female member of the equine family.
The Brits use this word to refer to a terrible or unpleasant situation, such as getting stuck in an elevator.
Now we go off-world! Astronomers use this term to refer to a large area of basalt rock on the surface of the moon. It appears dark in contrast to the lighter areas. In this context they are using Latin, it means sea. The dark areas look like a sea from the earth.
Pare is a word of singular mind and usage. It means to trim something, take off the outer edges or covering, make something smaller in size or quantity. I have also seen it mistaken for the words pair and pear as a homonym error.
Rare serves us as an adjective. It describes things that are uncommon or limited in some way. We use it to describe cooking a steak only a little bit, so there is pink or even red inside the cut of meat.
Tare is a word of biblical proportions. (Well kind of.) This word is used in the Holy Bible, Matthew 13, King James Version. The parable of the Wheat and Tares. Where the tares are a weed that displace the wheat in the growing season and provide no benefit at harvest time. In current times, this is a ground cover, known as vetch, used by farmers to provide forage for animals or enrich the soil by plowing back into the ground. It also means the net or tare weight of a product, not including the packaging. It can also create a homonym or typographical error for the word tear.
Ware is a wide ranging word, it has been in use for hundreds of years, it has archaic and modern definitions. First Google says it refers to a particular style of pottery or manufactured items. Sellers will show their merchandise or wares for sale. We also set our tables with silverware and dinnerware. One of the archaic definitions has to do with knowing and knowledge, to be aware of something whether important or trivial. The other definition has to do with danger or a perilous situation, to beware or take great care. This word is also a homonym for wear, where, or weir.
Yare is an archaic word without a modern analogue or common definition. Unless you enjoy sailing small boats! This is a small boat easy to steer, unlike something large like the Titanic or an iceberg.
There they are, eleven words with similar sounds and the same last three letters. If you use the wrong word, the reader could feel like they stumbled on a rock 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.
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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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