Write the Right Word: Homophones, Homonyms and Homographs, Oh My!
Apr 01, 2016 01:17PM
By Stephanie Parker and Eve Hady
Confused yet? Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. Let’s start with some definitions.
Homonyms are spelled the same and pronounced the same, but have different meanings. Examples: He was left at the scene of the accident even though his left leg was injured. The bean stalk allowed Jack to stalk the giant.
Homophones are similar to homonyms in that they also sound alike, have different meanings, but may or may not be spelled the same. Examples: She rose to the occasion when he handed her a rose. They’re going to the movies and will meet their friends there.
Homographs add another dimension to the confusion. These are words that share the same spelling, but may be pronounced differently. Examples: The actor took a bow for his role as Robin Hood. He was chosen for the part because he knew how to shoot a bow.
If others read what you write, whether on websites, in books, blogs or newsletters, let a skilled editor review your work for these common and easily made mistakes. That way you’re assured of using the right word in your writing.