by | 29 May,2022 | 0 comments

Homonyms, homographs and homophones

By Micah Wagner, Catch the Sun Intern.

The English language can be a bit tricky. Words can look or sound the same, but have completely different meanings. There are different variations of this, but as a general rule they can be categorised as follows:

Homonyms – words that spell and sound the same, but have different meanings (e.g. ‘bark’ and ‘bark’).

Homophones – words that sound the same, but have different spelling or meanings (e.g. ‘sun’ and ‘son’).

Homographs – words that spell the same, but sound and mean something different (e.g. ‘bow’ and ‘bow’).

Why should I care?

The thing is, these words are technically correct in the sense that they are actual words, and not misspelled. So if you used an incorrect homonym, for example, your spellchecker isn’t going to highlight it. It’s not going to be flagged unless a human notices it – and the human brain sees what it wants to see. The brain can also get tired, or lazy and, as a result, these mistakes can make it into print very easily.

For example:

He gave a compliment.

He gave a complement.

Here we see a homophone that is almost identical, but has two completely separate meanings. A compliment is praise or affirmation, whereas a complement is something added to something to make it better; like spices to a dish. Both don’t trigger your spellchecker because both make grammatical sense.

To be able to spot these in a finished document, you need to be looking for them; to be familiar with them and be combing through the document manually.

Sounds annoying, right?

What can you do?

If you don’t want to comb through your documents yourself and would prefer someone to double check your work, come to Catch the Sun Communications.

Our trained proofreaders specialise in minute details and have copious experience in removing spelling errors/typos, incorrect wording, homonyms and the like.

We’ll tear through them so well, you’ll say our work is on another tier, bringing a tear to your eye (see what I did there?)!



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