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SA Editor Jeanne Klempner
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Jeanne Klempner runs Seeking Alpha's Post-Production/Content QA team. Her job is to ensure the best possible reader experience of the site content. She joined Seeking Alpha in September 2008 (the day that Lehman went down, an interesting day to start at a financial website) as chief copy editor.... More
  • Beware of Homophones! 3 comments
    Nov 13, 2009 7:57 AM

    Inspired by Roger Knights' excellent posts (1,2) on common mistakes he's found in SA articles (I come across and correct many of those that he points out on a daily basis), I thought I'd compile my own list of homophones (one of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation or spelling - as the words to, too, and two) that I've come across in our articles. 

    When the wrong word is used in the wrong context it can be a great source of amusement, but it's something we really have to be on the lookout for.  Since these aren't wrong spellings, spellcheck won't pick up on them.

    Given that I'm not retired (as lucky Roger is), I don't have the luxury of time to spend on these posts, so I'll provide a few words at a time.

    (HT Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary for definitions)


    alter (v): to make different without changing into something else

    altar (n): a usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship


    canon: an accepted principle or rule b : a criterion or standard of judgment c : a body of principles, rules, standards, or norms

    cannon: a large heavy gun usually mounted on a carriage


    to get with great difficulty —usually used with out <eke out a living>

    eek: used to express surprise or dismay


    Many different parts of speech and meanings - look them up, I'm out of time!

    Stay tuned for more...

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Comments (3)
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  • Boaz Berkowitz
    , contributor
    Comments (84) | Send Message
    Great post, thanks.
    15 Nov 2009, 11:30 AM Reply Like
  • John Lounsbury
    , contributor
    Comments (4025) | Send Message
    This would be a great series of short articles. You could give examples of the misuse of adjectives in place of adverbs; misuse of the objective first person singular objective and subjective pronouns (I and me), although this is much more of a problem in spoken usage than written; run-on sentences; misplaced modifiers (split infinitives is one example); ending sentences with prepositions; dangling participles, etc.


    If you could collect examples of things that are humorous and/or are clearly misstating the author's intent, these could be very entertaining posts as well as educational.


    I am a fairly experienced writer, but I can make some of the most ridiculous structural and grammatical errors as I rattle something off on the keyboard. Sometimes, after writing something, I can not extract a meaning related to what I intended. I'm sure some of those boo boos get through my best proofing efforts. I hope you don't post too many examples from my writing, but I expect opportunities will arise.


    I enjoyed this post. Please do more.
    15 Nov 2009, 12:14 PM Reply Like
  • Evelyn C. Roth
    , contributor
    Comments (15) | Send Message
    Thanks Jeanne for ensuring that such things as "economic cross winds" never actually anger our readers, and that if an author wants to 'cow-tow' they understand such actions are best done in bovine company. You keep us honest and accurate, and we're continually grateful. Keep those homophones coming!
    16 Nov 2009, 02:57 AM Reply Like
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