Ball, Call, Dall, Fall, Gall, Hall, Lall, Mall, Pall, Tall, Wall, and Yall
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 mistakes. I find these typos and other spelling slip-ups in 95% of the published books we read.
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 these hidden gaffes and delivering your document free of spelling blunders.
Now, onto today’s episode!
We have 12 different four-letter words that end with -all. That means you have 11 opportunities to create a hidden error that won’t be found by many spell checkers. Let’s look at this list of terrible typos.
Ball is a very busy word! Primarily a noun, it refers to a spheroid shaped object used in a game of skill or chance by people usually and is a necessary part of many popular sports including football, soccer, baseball, and basketball. Small metal balls are used as ammunition in black-powder muskets. Anything that is round in shape can be described as a ball, yarn for example. It is the name of a formal social event involving dancing.
Secondarily a verb, it is used to describe the action of molding or squeezing something into a spheroid shape. When angry, a person might squeeze a hand into a fist, balling their hand. Call has so many uses! A bank can call a note when payment is late. A committee chairman can call a new meeting. To guess the outcome of a coin toss. A judge can demand a return to order in the court. A device to imitate the sound of an animal such as a duck call. In computing, it is a command to execute a subroutine. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Dall is a wild white sheep primarily found in the wilds of Alaska and northern British Columbia.
Fall as a verb describes an uncontrolled descent. When a person loses balance, they can fall down. When a government loses the confidence of the governed it can fall or cease operation. Something that slopes or flows downward is said to fall.
It's also a time of year when the leaves of deciduous trees no longer function and reveal their true color due to the absence of chlorophyll.
Gall is a word that has slowly fallen out of favor. Its primary definition refers to someone or some organization that acts in an impudent, condescending, or disrespectful manner towards other people. It also denotes the bitter-tasting digestive fluid produced by the gall bladder. It is the name of a growth on some plants, especially oak trees, to contain and isolate a burrowing insect, larvae, or fungi.
Hall is a common architectural term identifying space within a building that other rooms open onto. It allows for transit between the rooms and other parts of the building. It also refers to a large enclosed area designed for lectures, theater, and musical events.
Lall is a word used in phonetics. It means to make imperfect l- or r- sounds, or both, often compensating by substituting a w- like sound for either or a y- sound for the l-. My son had problems pronouncing his l-. So, I created an alliteration to help him achieve the proper sound: “Little lambs like lollipops and licorice.” He speaks quite well as an adult. I had my own speech impediment in my formative years also.
Mall is a building or series of buildings full of shops, restaurants, and frequently entertainment venues. From small to very big, they can become small cities when they are open for business.
Pall is a word very rarely heard these days. It has declined dramatically in the last 150 years. It refers to a cloth or fabric that is spread over a coffin, hearse, or tomb. By emotion, it is used to mean something overarching like a cloud of dark smoke that brings a very somber tone to a situation.
Tall can be used to describe some people and others not so much. Tall is also how we describe a story that is wild beyond belief.
Wall has many nuances! It is a vertical part of a structure that can support part or divide the interior. It can be part of a natural feature that is imposing in size or grandeur, like the walls of the Grand Canyon. In anatomy, it is the membrane that separates organs or is the enclosure of an organ like the stomach. In soccer, it is a line of defenders placed to protect their goal from a penalty kick.
Yall is the unpunctuated version y’all which is the abbreviated version of you all. A common colloquialism from the southern United States of America. It has spread well beyond those borders in recent years.
There they are, 12 words with similar sounds and the same last three letters. If you use the wrong word, the reader could feel like they tripped on an uneven sidewalk and might fall, as they read your book. They may feel like leaving your story because it is too hard to figure out what you are trying to say. 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 reading 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.
An avid reader and hyper speller. I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
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