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Beware of Homophones!

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/altar

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/cannon

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

eke/eek

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

eek: used to express surprise or dismay

fare/fair

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

Stay tuned for more...