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. I find these errors in 95% of published books.
Now, onto today’s episode!
Today’s words are from many different sources, we have Latin, Old French, Greek, Middle English, and English. Two of the words have seen increasing use over the last two centuries, one has been declining. These words have little in common other than being homophones in the English language. Just one of the many things that makes English so much FUN! ;-)
Poor is a widely used adjective. It has three primary meanings. First is penniless or indigent, someone who lacks sufficient financial resources to live a standard of life that is less than adequate by common or governmental standards. That family is too poor to afford a car. Second is below acceptable standards. The early models were plagued by poor craftsmanship and below expected sales. Third is someone deserving of pity, please donate now to help the poor refugees flee the natural disaster.
Pore is both a noun and a verb. Context determines the usage. As a noun it is a small opening through which a gas or a liquid can pass. Most of us are familiar with skin pores, we all have them. Used as a verb it means dedicating yourself to diligent study. She pored over the text book in preparation for the final exam. It used to mean think intently about or ponder, but that usage is considered archaic today and not commonly used.
Pour, a verb, might be the most straight forward word today, but it has many different nuances. The primary definition speaks of something moving from one place or container to another. The rain poured down. People poured in to the stadium for the big match. It can also mean to express thoughts or feelings in a fervent way. She used the editorial to pour out her disgust about the plans for closing the local school. In another sense, she poured herself into the tight red dress. Many uses for a simple word, one that is easily understood.
There they are, three words with identical sounds and a remarkably unrelated history. If you use the wrong word the reader might think they hit an invisible speed bump and lose the momentum you worked so hard to build. Do all in your power to prevent that from happening, do not give your reader a reason to close your book. Use beta readers, critique partners, proofreaders and editors to ensure that your work is error free and as smooth as possible. Word Refiner is ready to help as well.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this issue of Homophones Hurt Your Writing on Words For Thought. Follow us 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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