I keep a running list of homophone blunders I come across, and when it gets long enough, we get another Word Nerd Wednesday featuring the latest fun.
7 more word pairs to keep straight:
- If you're struggling to make ends meet, you eke out a living, meaning you get it with great difficulty.
- When you open the pantry and a mouse scurries between your feet you shriek, "Eek!"
I'm going to be honest; this is a word pair I regularly pause to think over to make sure I get it right.
- When I write a novel, it's discrete, individually distinct from any other.
- If Sammy hears a juicy piece of gossip, she knows how to be discreet by using good judgment and not blabbering it about publicly.
- In high school, I was generally too shy to speak up. I had to learn to be bolder in class.
- I used to live on a street named after a huge gray boulder, a stone taller than my ten-year-old self.
I've seen this pair mixed up a lot lately, with the second word used as the first, even by highly educated folks. It has me scratching my head. A refresher:
- Laura had to to decide between buying the red or green blouse and opted for the latter. In other words, she's now the proud owner of a green blouse, since it was listed second.
- Had Laura arrived at the store an hour later, the green one might have already been sold, so she'd have bought the red one.
I address this pair in my grammar book, but it bears repeating. The first word here (passed) is a verb that already happened:
- As Dave rode his bike to work, cars passed him awfully close.
The other word (past) could be either a noun or a preposition. (It can also be an adjective, but let's keep it simple for today.)
- Noun: Tell me about your the last three years of your past.
- Preposition: Scott walked right past Julie without recognizing her.
Peeve, peeve, peeve. First of all, note that I didn't write alot. That would be because it's not a word. You need the space between the A and the LOT. TWO words. For the love.
The two words in action:
- Pete planned to allot thirty minutes for his lunch break at work.
- On second thought, make that forty-five. He was starving and knew he'd eat a lot.
This is a recent confused pair. I'm guessing it has something to do with the popularity of American Idol. (Although if that's true, wouldn't more people know the difference? It's a puzzler.)
- Janice planned lots of activities for summer to keep her children from being idle.
- Jenny's mother wished she'd find someone else to look up to instead of her idol, Lindsay Lohan.
The other day, I borrowed a book from my dad that will likely inspire future WNW posts and will definitely bring me lots of nerdy joy: Diction of Confusing Words and Meanings.
I'm salivating already.