Welcome to Words For Thought, the blog on wordrefiner.com. We are dealing with homophones today. Three words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. Every writer is likely to miss one or more misplaced words in their writings. We define a misplaced word as a correctly spelled word in the wrong context, typographical errors are included in this definition as well. That is why a writer needs beta readers, critique readers, an editor and a proofreader or two. Writers can also find help in a writers’ group. Many pairs of fresh eyes are needed to root out all of those errors in their many forms.
Onto today’s episode!
These three words have their roots in Latin, have traveled through Late Middle English and French. The 2nd and 3rd are more closely related of the three words, they have a common Latin root meaning spade or shovel. Yes, we know, sometimes the route a word travels from one meaning to another is obscure.
Palate is a noun and has two primary meanings in Modern English. First is medical, it means the roof of the mouth that separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavities. Second is an appreciation of differing taste and flavors, usually in a sophisticated and discriminating fashion. Connoisseurs and Foodies sometimes use these words in their descriptions. It is easy to see how these two related definitions came to be, since they have to do with taste and smell.
Palette is a noun that finds use in the fine arts. It refers to a thin board or slab of hard material a painter uses to hold and mix small amounts of colors while painting.
During his open-studio, the artist walks up to a person admiring a particular painting and says, “If you like these colors you can take them home for free because you sat on my palette.”
This term can also include the range and variety of sounds in a musical composition.
Pallet is another noun that first means a crude bed covered with straw or a mattress made of straw. This is not quite modern for most of us, because it seems to predate the inner spring mattress. Secondly, the definition that many of us might be more familiar with is a portable platform for storing and moving goods with the aid of a forklift or pallet jack.
Three words with identical sound and very different meanings. By choosing the wrong word for your context your reader is quite likely to stumble in their reading and maybe even close the book. Do not let that happen, do all in your power to ensure your millions of readers a smooth ride to the end.
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 #HomophonesHurtYourWriting.
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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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