Rain Vs. Rain and the Other Tricky Homophones You Mix up All the Time
Homophones are words that sound the same, but have different meanings and, as a rule, different spellings. Some are easy to distinguish (flat and simple, flower and starchy – although I still stop and ponder every time I need to write “cauliflower”), and some are more difficult. Here we will focus on the more difficult ones that people can easily trip over. How many of them do you get right each time?
Affect / Consequence : Affect is a cause; the effect is the result. For example: the rain affected everyone’s mood. Perhaps wet weather is having any effect on your health?
Accept / Except : Accept means receive. Except means “not including”. For example: The church accepts food donations. They’ll take everything except expired food.
Reins / Reins : Reins are long, narrow straps attached to the horse’s bite. To reign means to hold a royal office (or the period during which the monarch rules). For example: Make no mistake, Whitney holds the reins in this relationship. It’s hard to believe that Queen Elizabeth II ruled for 69 years.
While it may seem counterintuitive, when someone says they have the right to do whatever they want, the correct expression is “free rein.” (This dates back to the 17th century when riders held the reins loosely and allowed their horses to lead forward.)
Principal / Principle : Principal means the principal, primarily in order of importance, the one with the most power, or the amount of money on which interest is paid. A principle is a fundamental truth, theorem, or law. For example: she never deviated from her principles . The school called me to his office. He is the head of the firm. How much interest you are paying on the principal amount of debt?
Stationary / Stationery : ” Stationary ” means immobility. Stationery is pretty paper that you write on. For example: My dad loves his exercise bike. I cannot be motionless all day long. Have you bought new office supplies for your desk? Here is a useful mnemonic device: Focus on E: Station e gu goes to e nvelopes (or station’s rv e nvelopes).
Compliment / Compliment: Compliments are expressions of praise. Compl e Cops compl e te (or increase) that – that. But “complements completely” is a great tool for memorization. For example: Deb received many compliments for her haircut. Corn nuts are a great addition to beer.
Naked / Bear : Naked means plain, plain or not dressed. Obviously, we all know what bears are, but the word is also spelled bear when it is used as a verb meaning to endure or bear heaviness. For example: she reveals everything in her new memoirs. If you ever leave, I cannot bear it .
Capital / Capitol : Use capital letter when referring to city, wealth, or capital letter. Use the Capitol to indicate the building where the legislators are gathering. For example: Trenton is the capital of the state of New Jersey. How much capital do you need to start your own business? The new Capitol was completed in 1957 Remember: Most capit about Ls Have d about tez.
Than / Then: What is used for comparison; then used to ground us in time. For example: Mary has more money than her brother. Let’s go shopping, then to the cinema. A useful trick is to remember: the van is bigger than the car.
Vanity / Lived / False : Vanity means selfish, unsuccessful, or unhelpful. The vein is the anatomical tube that carries blood to the heart. Weather vane is an abbreviation for weather vane. In short: In vain: Bad. Vienna: Good. Vane: Rarely. For example: Mario has always been conceited . He tried in vain to get a higher education.
If you need help remembering, “in the same vain” or “in the same vessel,” remember this: if two things are literally “in the same vein,” they occupy the same blood vessel. Figuratively, they are the same or similar. For example: the sequel is written in the same spirit as the original, but not so well.
Who’s / Whose : Who’s – short for who’s . Whose pronoun indicates possession. For example : Who is playing the game today ? Whose keys are these?
Eluding / Hinting: For an electronic Luda is an electronic vade or electronic tendril. (Look at all those E!) Allude means an indirect suggestion or reminder of a previous piece of art. For example: a fugitive was hiding from the police for several weeks. Sally mentioned Max’s involvement with Katrina, but did not blame him directly. Her style of painting refers to the work of Picasso.
Censor / Sensor : Censor means to test or suppress what is deemed “unacceptable” (or the person performing the suppression). A sensor is a device that detects or measures changes in its physical environment (in other words, these pesky stores forget to take off their clothes). For example: The First Amendment to the Constitution protects speech from government censorship . There’s a motion sensor above their garage. When in doubt, remember: C Ensors c ut. S ensors Ense s.
Illusion / Hint : An illusion is a deceptive appearance or false belief. Allusion is an image of speech that indirectly refers to something. For example: optical illusions can make you sick if you look at them long enough. The soft chocolate chip cookie is my kryptonite (a hint of Superman’s weakness).