Welcome to this edition of Words For Thought, the blog on wordrefiner.com. Like many of the previous blogs we are looking at homophones. Words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings.
I understand how important it is to have an error free manuscript. With over 40 years of experience, I have found that homophones give almost every writer fits and difficulties. Because we sound words out in our mind, it is easy to write the wrong word.
Let’s not forget typographical errors also, a slip of the finger on the keyboard can create a different word that may not be caught by a spell-checker. There are many groups of words that vary by only one letter, such as vary and very, or must, mist and most.
The correctly spelled word in the wrong context will not be flagged by most spell-checkers. Word Refiner is dedicated to uprooting all of these hidden errors and providing your document free of spelling errors that you want and deserve.
Now, onto today’s episode!
These three words are hundreds of years old. They have roots in old Germanic languages and Old English. These three words have much in common in the past, but have diverged from each other in interesting ways.
Weather everyone talks about it, not many can do anything about it! A word with multiple meanings, depending on context. Primarily it has to do with the state of the atmosphere at all levels: heat, wet, cold, dry, wind or calm. Sometimes the effects are moderate or temperate, other times we have extremes such as drought, deluges, tornadoes or hurricanes.
In yachting, the weather side of the boat refers to the side the wind is coming from.
Weathervanes point to the direction the wind is coming from also.
As a verb it refers to the erosion of material.
In falconry, weathering means allowing a hawk to sit on a perch in the open air.
Weathering can also mean to come safely through a storm or great difficulty.
Weather has seen a slight decline in usage in the last 80 years or so.
Whether is an opposite word in a couple ways, it is used as a conjunction. We use it to express doubt about choices available.
“I am going to eat this whether you like it or not.”
We also use it as an expression in an investigation.
“Would you go see whether Dad is in the barn?”
It is a plain and simple word, but utilization has changed very little over the centuries.
Wether is a very specialized term in animal husbandry, if you raised sheep there is a good chance you know that it refers to a ram that has been castrated.
If you hang a bell on this ram he becomes known as the bellwether. The other members of the flock follow him around, and therefore the flock is more easily located.
The usage of this word has dropped dramatically and steadily over the last 200 years.
There they are, three words with identical sounds and a somewhat related history. If you use the wrong word the reader might think they hit an unknown speed bump and lose the momentum you worked so hard to build. Use every tool available to prevent that from happening, do not give your readers a reason to not finish your story. Use beta readers, critique partners, proofreaders and editors to ensure that your work is error free and as smooth as possible. Word Refiner is prepared to help also.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this issue of Homophones Hurt Your Writing on Words For Thought. Follow me on twitter: @wordrefiner, for more alerts about hazardous homophones search for #HomophonesHurtYourWriting or #TyposHurtYourWriting on twitter.
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Remember: Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.
Copyright © 2015 Mark L Schultz
An avid reader and hyper speller. I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
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