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Which witch are you talking about? Words that can lead to some pretty awkward situations.

By Admin | Nov,18 2014 |  | 

Ordinarily, we can talk, or even spell our way out of tricky situations, but only when done right. It is always wise to watch out for those certain words that can leave us baffled not only during a particularly challenging crossword puzzle, but also on a seemingly normal day.

 

Have you ever found yourself beginning to write a particular word, and then looked down at the page to realize that you haven’t spelt the word in the way that you intended to?

We all know the feeling. We owe it to the existence of certain sets of words that lend themselves to such erroneous possibilities. They are - homophones, homographs and homonyms.

 

Could you imagine your teacher’s reaction to a sentence in the thick of your essay about ‘World Harmony’ that reads: “Reconciliation and reconstruction are both essential to the restoration of world piece (instead of peace).”

 

Or your friend’s reaction to a text from you that reads: “Why, thank you, intelligence is indeed in my jean (instead of genes).”

 

You’ll be surprised at how often homonyms like these can alter the course of a conversation or even a situation (for better or for worse).

 

Homonyms, as you might have figured from the scenarios above, are two or more words that are spelled and pronounced alike but are actually different in meaning.

 

Homophones are a set of words that we’re all familiar with. These are two or more words that are pronounced alike but differ in spelling or meaning. Just think about how hilarious a game of Pictionary would be if the player drew dessert instead of the actual clue: desert.

 

Homographs are two or more words that are spelt alike but different in pronunciation or meaning. Wouldn’t things get weird if you read “It’s your birthday, take a bow! (the stooping gesture)” as “It’s your birthday, take a bow!” (the weapon used with arrows).

 

What makes matters even more confusing are the cases when these categories overlap. Take for example: watt which is, indeed, a homonym, but it is also a homophone. Or row, which is a homonym but also a homograph.

 

In fact, homonyms, homophones and homographs are not restricted only to the English language, but are often a source of mix ups for people speaking languages apart from English as well.  

 

Word to the wise: Be extra careful when it comes to spelling, writing, typing or pronouncing words of these categories. They can, however, come handy if you ever really want to lighten up a moment-

 

“Waiter, will the pancakes be long?"

- “No, sir, round.”

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