Homophones. A Spell-Check Nightmare.

I’m all about my ears. Okay maybe not. I’m mostly all about my hearing. If I hearing-30097_1280mishear a word, I spell it incorrectly. And I’m beginning to think some words will be misspelled for as long as I live. It’s awful. I’m constantly looking up words. Not just for spelling but for meaning.

Why look up a word for meaning?

Because I also mix up words that sound the same. I thought it was only me until I sniffed around. So here I go again sharing what I found.

A homophone is a word that has the same sound as another word but is spelled differently and has a different meaning:

My favorites are: to, two, and too.

The runners up are: there, their, and they’re.

My favorites and runners up are loved because I have them all sorted out, but there are words that I’ll never remember like:

Discrete and Discreet

Petal and Pedal

Leavers and levers

There’s a link of most (they claim all) English homophones below.

gerund-1025453_1920The worst thing about homophones is no spell-checker sees them as an error. Technically they are spelled correctly. So I rely on grammar checkers like my editor, proofreader, betas and any other kind soul brave enough to point out my mistake.

I don’t trust computerized grammar checkers completely and neither should you. (But that’s another post.)

Anybody else have issues that can’t be caught by a spell-checker? Let’s share so all of us can be a bit wiser. πŸ™‚

Places I gleaned:

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51 responses to “Homophones. A Spell-Check Nightmare.

  1. I’m usually pretty good with homophones, but don’t get me started on commas. Those little buggers make me crazy. Ugh!

  2. Homophones do challenge a lot of writers and it’s true that spell check is hopeless for those. Using the “find” function on words you know you get into trouble with can help as an editing tool, but really just being careful and knowing the difference is best. I’ve seen a lot of misplaced homophones in self-published work.

  3. I like Shell’s suggestion. I use ‘find’ a lot. I am nuts about grammar-checking my work. I use both Grammarly and Autocrit and still miss mistakes like homonyms at times. I did feel good when an agent I queried commented on how well-edited the submittal was!

  4. Discrete/discreet is one I always have to look up, too. I don’t trust spell checkers or grammar checkers, either. It pays to have several sets of eyes going over the manuscript. Hopefully, with enough eyes, the mistakes will get caught.

  5. Ha! I Remember when I used to write out gas/brake petal. :p

  6. Great post. I have added you to my writing articles list of mechanics. Mechanics

    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  7. Oh yes, the words to, two, too and there, their, they’re. If I’m not careful I’ll use one of the words when I meant another. And spellcheck won’t even catch it. Did a previous post about spell checker & why we shouldn’t rely so heavily on it for the same reason. They sound similar and their spelling is almost similar too.

  8. I’ve used the wrong word a few times. Thankfully I have a great copyeditor!

  9. I posted a comment, but something freaky happened, so I think it ate it. Anyways…

    Something that I think we as writer’s need to think about and considered. I know. I do all that. e.g tale vs tell, since vs sense, so many really and you just don’t think about it or see till you go back, which can be frustrating. You know the difference but brain thinks-fingers type, but wrong selection,

    This is not homophones, but verb tense Choice, Chose, Choose is every bit as frustrating sometimes as homophones

    Great post. I have added a link to mechanics page under Grammar in my For Writers articles.

    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

  10. The thing that drives me crazy is you think the right one, but for some reason your fingers type the other, and then brain don’t catch till it goes live grrrrrrrrrrrr,lol.

  11. I used to stumble over its and it’s while writing…now I always say it is out-loud to try to avoid the issue as I type but it helps me from growling at myself 😊

  12. I usually get those right. But there are certain words I still hear wrong and can’t spell right to save my life. It’s even worse when you can’t even misspell it well enough for SpellCheck to identify.

  13. Homophones can definitely become a stumbling block when writing. That’s why I like to rely on sight rather than hearing for words. They’re about as bad as spelling something so terribly that even Word has no idea what you mean. LOL!

  14. I suffer from all of the above..LOL Since I have no editor, I write my post, check it, then leave it alone for a week. Then I do a reread. My posts are never perfect, but I try.

  15. Even KNOWING all the rules and different homophones, I find my fingers typed a your instead of you’re. Such is life. We fumble through and hopefully get better as we go, eh?

  16. I’m pretty good about spotting homophones. I may type it wrong on occasion, but I usually spot it in the next read through.

  17. I catch these homophonic errors when I’m proofreading. I’m always surprised, wondering why my brain came up with the wrong word.

  18. I must admit that I do most of my learning about these sorts of rules through the critique group process. In the last few years of working with writing groups, I’ve been able to improve most areas. Some errors will slip by even so. That’s what beta readers and editors are for! πŸ˜€

  19. This reminds me of that poem, “Ode to Spell Chequer.” The computer doesn’t know the difference!

  20. Thank heaven you’re out their! I’m always switching these homophones and feeling humbled when I have to edit them out. πŸ™‚

  21. Discrete/discreet is definitely a hard one. The more betas the better I think, to help catch stuff like this!

  22. There are also puns based on homophones.

    A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two-tired.
    You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.
    Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.

    It’s double the fun! πŸ™‚

  23. Pingback: Writing Mechanics: Study & Contests - Writer's Gambit

  24. Pingback: No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links | No Wasted Ink

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