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Homophones and Motivation to Write

according-to-214445_1280Information: Homophones Cause Spelling Errors

Homophones are words that sound alike. They cause spelling errors when we forget which spelling is appropriate for the context. Below are some examples I’ve encountered in my reading and editing. As with many spelling errors, these will not be caught by spell-check. And I suspect that some are caused by auto-correct or auto-complete.

Alter vs. altar: Altars are where religious rites are conducted. To alter something is to change it in some way.

Chord vs. cord: Being a musician, I am truly annoyed when I see: “It struck a cord with him.” No! It struck a chord. A chord is two or more notes played simultaneously on a musical instrument. In this idiom, “strike a chord” means the event or idea “triggers a memory or feeling.” If someone strikes a chord on a piano, it gets your attention. Therefore, using cord in this phrase makes no sense at all, since a cord is a string or rope.

Conscious vs. conscience: “He wanted to follow his conscious in deciding which candidate to vote for.” Surely this error was cause by auto-correct. You are conscious when you are awake and aware of what’s going on. Your conscience is your sense of right and wrong that guides you in decision-making.

Peek, pique and peak: To peek is to look when you’re not supposed to. A peak is the very top of an object, the highest point. Both peek and peak are often used when the proper term would be pique. “He piqued my interest when he said he was a singer.” Pique means to excite or to arouse emotion. I suppose peak would be correct in a statement like this: “My interest peaked when she said she was going shopping.” Just be careful with these three homophones.

Inspiration: Need Motivation?

Why do you write? Are you new to the craft, or are you a veteran writer? No matter where we are in the journey, sometimes we lose sight of our purpose and need encouragement. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference uses this Bible verse as its motto:

Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Psalm 96:3 (New Living Translation)

Now, that’s a reason to write—to tell the world what God has done for us. Someone pointed out to me that almost all other translations do not use the word “publish” in this verse. Instead, the lead word is “declare.” That doesn’t change the meaning of the verse for me. Declaring God’s glorious deeds can take many forms such as writing, speaking, editing, or critiquing. If you are at a standstill with your writing, try one of the other ways you can declare God’s deeds. Maybe branching out will jumpstart your writing.

Readers, have you had difficulty with any of the homophones mentioned in this post? Are there others that give you trouble? Do you have a Bible verse that motivates you to write? Share in the comments. If you get this post by email, please click on the title of the post to go to my site. Scroll down to Leave a Reply and comment there.

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6 Responses to Homophones and Motivation to Write

  1. Tracy Crump October 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    I used the word “feat” the other day and had to stop and think about it. I sure didn’t want to mistakenly talk about the appendages we use for walking.

    And I recently read an editor’s warning to be sure to spell the word “foreword” (the introduction to a book) correctly. He said that really puts editors off when we don’t use the right word there. I make myself look it up each time.

  2. Paula October 22, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    Reign and rein, although I don’t have trouble with them, I see them misused occasionally.

  3. Emily Akin October 22, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

    I know what you mean. I wish more people would stop and think or look it up when it doubt.

  4. Emily Akin October 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    I’ve seen reign and rein mixed up many times. I think it has something to do that most of the population does not deal with horses or mules any more. If they did, they would understand what a rein is.

  5. Cecelia Lester October 23, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    I read this in our local newspaper recently. It was sports reporter who wrote it. “The schools moral was low.” I know he meant to say MORALE.

  6. Emily Akin October 23, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    Newspapers are notorious for errors like that. It’s the deadlines. Surely the reporter knew better.

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