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 delivering your document free of spelling blunders. I find these spelling errors in 95% of published books.
Now, onto today’s episode!
We have 10 words with the same 3 letters AGE. That is almost half the alphabet and presents many opportunities for an easy typing mistake to bury an invisible error in your book.
Age is a very common word, known and used by all. It is a marker of time, our time on this earth or a reminder of times in history. We all have an age, our personal timeline of existence. We study ages past and we live in the modern age. Age is both a noun and a verb, it is also the suffix for many words such as marriage, acreage, and demurrage. There are close to 100 words that use the suffix –age.
Cage primarily refers to a structure made of wire or bars to contain an animal or bird. It can also be used to refer to a prison or jail. There are batting cages that allow a person to practice swinging a bat without injuring others from an errant ball. Some sports use a cage-like object to record a point won such as soccer and hockey.
Gage has had a long life as an archaic word meaning something offered as a promise, deposit, or a good faith guarantee. That could be the end of it as far as modern times. Except it is also an alternate spelling of gauge and they are pronounced the same with a hard or long “A” sound. In this more recent context, it is all about measuring, dimensions, and quantifying desired sizes.
Hage while more commonly appearing in several foreign languages such as Danish, Japanese, and Norwegian. It is found in modern English as an acronym or texting abbreviation for Have A Good Evening.
Mage is an archaic literary term familiar to people who read and enjoy books in the fantasy genre. It is derived from the Latin term Magus and both mean magician or educated person. While not seeing much use in the 19th century and much of the 20th century, it has seen a rapid increase in usage in the last 40 or 50 years.
Nage is a cooking term for an aromatic soup used to cook shellfish. It has come from France and its popularity has increased dramatically in the last 20 or 25 years.
Page is a very common word with a variety of meanings. In modern terms, it means a single piece of paper among many bound together into a book or magazine. It can also mean to have a person sought out for a particular purpose. Does anyone remember the ubiquitous pagers from the eighties and nineties? The precursor of our cell phones. In verb form, it can mean to go through a book or magazine one page at a time.
Rage means intense feelings, uncontrollable anger as in road rage! As I write this the current rage (a widespread temporary fashion) sweeping the nation is fidget spinners and other toys that require small manipulations. These toys are supposed to aid concentration for people who have ADD or are on the lower end of the autistic spectrum. Many are familiar with rage as a type of party that involves dancing to loud music with strobe lights and frequent drug use.
Sage is an interesting word because it has two very distinct meanings. First, it is an aromatic herb that grows primarily in southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, used for cooking and seasoning food. But wait, there’s more! It is also the name of two North American bushes with silvery-green foliage, and it is short for sagebrush, a common plant growing in arid regions of the western part of the United States of America.
The very different definition refers to a philosopher, thinker, scholar; a person who understands and dispenses wisdom.
Wage has become an important word in the last 100 years or so. It refers to the payment made to someone for work performed, commonly on a per piece or time sensitive framework. We talk about an hourly wage that someone makes such as a carpenter or cashier. We have a minimum wage in Oregon which is $10.25 per hour.
As a verb, it means to carry on or execute a plan or campaign such as a political campaign or war.
There they are, ten 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 Homonyms and Terrible Typos search for #HomonymsHurtYourWriting and #TyposHurtYourWriting on twitter.
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Remember: Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.
Copyright © 2017 Mark L Schultz
An avid reader and hyper speller. I am a husband, father, and grandfather.
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