Homophones

Homophones

Posted in: Better Writing, Editor

HomophonesA homophone is a word which is pronounced like another word with a different spelling and meaning. Words which sound alike are often confused. Choosing the incorrect spelling of a homophone can drastically change the meaning of what you write.

Allusion-Illusion

An allusion is a casual or indirect reference.

The allusion to Dante’s Inferno was thought-provoking.

An illusion is a false image.

The water on the hot pavement was only an illusion.

Capital-Capitol

Capital as a noun means a governing city or funds.

Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana.
They are scrambling to raise enough capital to open another branch.

As an adjective, capital means chief or principal.

This is a capital idea.

Capitol is a statehouse.

The Capitol is the United States Congressional building in Washington, D.C.

Ensure-Insure

Ensure means to make certain.

Please, ensure the students are punctual.

Insure means to protect from loss.

You must insure each of your vehicles separately.

Although American spelling allows for the exchange of insure and ensure to mean make certain, ensure is proper.

Complement-Compliment

Use complement to mean to complete or to supply needs.

The colors of fall complement each other.

Use compliment to mean to express praise.

She complimented his stirring performance.

Complimentary may mean either praising, approving; expressing praise or given free.

Her review of the performance was complimentary.
Her tickets were complimentary.

Eminent-Imminent

Eminent means distinguished.

He is an eminent professor.

Imminent means about to happen; forthcoming.

The hurricane’s landfall is imminent.

Gambit-Gamut

A gambit is an opening move or remark exposing risk for later gain.

His gambit of sacrificing his pawn set the stage for his attack on his opponent’s queen.
Her complaints of poverty were a good gambit to get her mother to pay this month’s bills.

Gamut is scope, range or a series of musical notes.

The book played on the gamut of human emotions from disappointment to success.
The bridge was a gamut spanning two full octaves.

Principle-Principal

Principle is a noun meaning fundamental truth.

The charity was founded on philanthropic principles.

Principal means chief when used as an adjective and chief official or amount borrowed; remaining amount owed on a loan when used as a noun.

The principal participants will be charged with a greater offense.
The principal was disappointed school ended.
She paid an additional $100 on principal to reduce interest charges.

Stationary-Stationery

Stationary means in a fixed position.

He rode the stationary bike twenty miles.

Stationery means writing paper and envelopes.

Scented stationery makes a personalized gift.

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