Commonly Misspelled Words and Homonyms

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Non-native speakers and even native speakers make typos when they write. These typos can include misspelled words - words where a letter has been omitted or words where letters are unknowingly rearranged. Doing this can create other words with an entirely different meaning. The sentence or paragraph with the misspelled word(s) will now mean something else and will potentially leave the reader confused. Other typos can include misusing homonym words and there are many of those in the English language...


What are Homonyms?

The English language consists of many words that are classified as homonyms. Often enough, people, especially non-native speakers, tend to confuse these words and use them incorrectly in their writing.

Homonyms are words that have the same pronunciation and/or spelling but have different meaning.

For example:

There (location), they're (abbreviation for they are), and their (belonging to them - where them refers to a group of people animals, things, etc) have the same pronunciation but a different meaning, therefore these three words are classified as homonyms.


Ball (meaning - basketball) and ball (meaning - the dance) have the same pronunciation and spelling but a different meaning. These two words are also considered homonyms.

Here is a list of some of the homonyms, a number of which are often used incorrectly, along with their parts of speech. If you are unsure of the meanings of these words you can check them in the dictionary. I often use dictionary.com to check for meanings of words, along with their parts of speech, if I am not sure what they are.

Abbreviations of the parts of speech

 
 
 
Noun = (n)
Verb = (v)
Preposition = (prep)
Pronoun = (pn)
Adverb = (adv)
Conjunction (conj)
Adjective = (adj)
 
Contraction = (cont)
Abbreviations of the parts of speech

Misused Homonyms

  • Where (adv) → Wear (v) or (n)
  • Land (n) → Lend (v)
  • Two (n) or (adj) → Too (adv) → To (prep)
  • Mail (n) or (v) → Male (n) or (adj)
  • Break (v) → Brake (n) or (v)
  • Dear (adj) → Deer (n)
  • Flee (v) → Flea (n)
  • Plain (adj) → Plane (n)
  • Bore (v) or (n) → Boar (n)
  • Sun (n) → Son (n)
  • Bear (n) or (v) or (adj) → Bare (v) or (adj)
  • Complement (n) or (v) → Compliment (n) or (v)
  • Here (adv) → Hear (v)
  • Toll (n) or (v) → Tall (adj)
  • Stall (v) or (n) → Stole (v)

Misused Homonyms

  • Then (adv) → Than (conj)
  • Its (pn) → It's (cont)
  • There (adv) → Their (prep) → They're (cont)
  • Your (prep) → You're (cont)
  • Effect (n) → Affect (v) or (n)
  • Except (prep) or (conj) → Accept (v)
  • Set (n) or (v) → Sat (v)
  • Flair (n) → Flare (v)
  • Meet (v) → Meat (n)
  • Sand (n) → Send (v)
  • Stare (v) → Stair (n)
  • Fair (adj) → Fare (n)
  • Tan (v) or (n) or (adj) → Ten (n) or (adj)
  • Heel (n) → Heal (v)
  • Real (adj) → Reel (n) or (v)
  • Hair (n) → Hare (n)

Omitting Letters From Words

Sometimes when we type, especially if we are in a rush, we may find ourselves misspelling words by omitting letters. In turn we end up creating words with different meanings. Sometimes they will confuse the reader but sometimes they will make the reader laugh. These words can also be homonyms. Here is a list of some of these words.

  • Wash → Ash
  • Wing → Win
  • Song → Son
  • Feel → Fee
  • Wine → Win
  • Spine → Spin
  • Mine → Min
  • Team → Tea
  • Start → Tart
  • Prank → Rank
  • Turn → Urn
  • Look → Loo
  • Crock → Rock
  • Wood → Woo
  • Hour → Our (homonyms)

  • Where → Were
  • Here → Her
  • Know → Now
  • Knew → New
  • News → New
  • Year → Ear
  • What → Hat
  • When → Hen
  • Now → No
  • None → Non
  • Shell → Hell
  • Beer → Bee
  • Boar → Boa
  • King → Kin
  • Crash → Rash

Rearranging Letters In Words

Sometimes when we type, especially if we are in a rush, we may find ourselves unknowingly rearranging letters. By unknowingly rearranging letters in words we often end up creating existing words with different meanings. These words can also be homonyms. Here is a list of some of these words.

  • Bear → Bare (homonyms)
  • Its → Tis
  • Meal → Male
  • Read → Dear
  • Dear → Dare
  • Wake → Weak
  • Reap → Rape
  • Smile → Slime
  • Break → Brake (homonyms)
  • Bus → Sub
  • Liar → Rail
  • Step → Pets
  • Miles → Limes
  • Lemon → Melon
  • Lake → Leak

  • From → Form
  • Ear → Are
  • No → On
  • Ten → Net
  • Pan → Nap
  • Pat → Tap
  • Bread → Beard
  • Eat → Ate → Tea
  • Part → Trap
  • Pear → Pare (homonyms)
  • Stew → Wets
  • Scar → Cars
  • Apes → Peas
  • Seal → Sale
  • Pale → Leap

Here's a Laugh...

Now, imagine some of these misspelled/misused words in a sentence ... they will make you laugh. (The misspelled words are in bold)

  1. My tea won the tournament on Sunday.
  2. Can you put my dirty laundry into the ash?
  3. This red win tastes delicious.
  4. This popular son is very catchy.
  5. Did you get the male from the mailbox?
  6. Ready, Set, Tart.
  7. My hare has brown highlighted curls.
  8. What ear did the satellite launch?
  9. Say cheese and show me that slime.
  10. Can you put the brown rock on the stove for me?
  11. I went to loo for some cheese.
  12. Can you pass me some fried apes please?
  13. How many limes does it take to get to the hotel?
  14. There is a big seal at the shopping mall.
  15. Let's meat up later at the mall.

Keep in Mind...

Sometimes misspelling words can be funny, but often enough it is not, especially if you are writing something meaningful or important. Typos can lessen the quality of the writing and can put you, as a writer, in a bad light.

It is always a great idea to read over your writing many times to make sure it is typo-free. You may not always have the option to go back and edit your writing once it has been published or submitted somewhere, like you do here on hubpages.

No matter how great a writer you are, sometimes your writing might have a typo or two that you might not notice or even overlook. Consider having someone other than you read over your writing a few times and see if there are any typos you might have missed. This will help insure that your writing is in fact typo-free, as that is what you want in the end.

© 2010 Lena Kovadlo

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Comments 9 comments

lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 6 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

lambservant - thanks for your comment. Typos seem to be inevitable so looking over and editing a piece of writing, no matter what it is, is very important. And yes it's a process. Sometimes we don't even see our own typos when they are right under our noses. Having someone else look over our work can be helpful in finding those omitted typos.

Sometimes when I look over a manuscript, or a prose piece of writing I don't know when to stop looking for typos... When is it time to say 'enough. no more typos exist.'?

Lena


lambservant profile image

lambservant 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

As a poor typist, I have had to learn to edit, re-edit, and re-edit again my work. Even still, I almost always have one little typo that is hard to detect. It is a wonderful thing to be able to go back and correct our typos here on Hubpages. I now have to learn to edit my comments and forum posts. Ah well, it's always a process.

Good hub. Thanks.


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 6 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

Having a typo or two in our writing is not that bad. We are human after all and sometimes don't see our own typos even when they are right in front of us.

Having a piece of writing with one typo after another is careless and not only lessens the quality of the writing but also puts the writer in a bad light.

Writing should be checked and re-checked many times to make sure it is typo free.

Lena


rauffray profile image

rauffray 6 years ago from BC, Canada

I've always been good at spelling but I still find this hub interesting and informative. All languages have their "quirks" and English is no exception. I wish more people would check their spelling before posting poems etc. Thank you, Lena.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

Ah yes... The wrong use of homonyms are the bane of my existence as a copy editor. Going to a restaurant and seeing misspelled words on menus makes me sad :(


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 6 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

KoffeeKlatch Gals - Thanks for the feedback. I think even the best of writers can make mistakes without realizing they are even making them. And misspelling words - we all do it sometimes. Even using a spell checker does not always help. For example, in Microsoft Word if we write 'form' instead of 'from' it won't catch the error because 'form' is spelled correctly. Makes me wonder why we need spell checkers at all then?

Lena


lovebuglena profile image

lovebuglena 6 years ago from Staten Island, NY Author

Mike - Thanks so much for the feedback and for pointing out your/you're combo. It's indeed a very common mistake people make and should be on my list. I will go back and add it. Thanks again.

Lena


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

I found your hub amusing. I think you did a great job pinpointing the homonyms that so many misuse and I loved the list of words that many of us end up with when we are careless and in a hurry. It is so true, one missing letter can give a whole new meaning to a word. Great job.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

A useful and quite helpful list. One of the most common misused words has to be when "your" is used in place of "you're". Very experienced writers make this mistake. Just as many use "effect" and "affect" interchangeably.

Thanks for this, it is most useful.

Mike

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