Reigning in misused pears

fun with homonyms

Mismatched pear of shoes?

Some writers have trouble making the right choice between two similar words.

I like it when I catch one choosing the wrong word. I can pass some fun with homonyms along to you.

Someone riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn carriage reins in the horse to control its direction. Elizabeth II reigns in the United Kingdom.

So what does the following come-on for a marketing instruction program mean?

“How to help reign in your online audience and 
keep them from doing price comparisons when 
considering your product or service.”

Is the marketer supposed to control the audience like so many horses? Or be its monarch? I suspect someone put in the extra letter because it looks more impressive, or something.

Rein and reign are not simply a pear, um, pair of words that can be misused. It rains. It rains in places that have had more than enough rain and not in places that really need it.

It rains. What is “it”? Can’t “it” be persuaded to do its thing where it’s wanted and needed? But we can’t rein in the Lord who reigns on high and rains (or not) on the just and unjust, can we?

But wait, there’s more!


Somehow I think I’ll never run out of material for this series. After all, writers have to read. And much of what I read has been posted in haste. Even if the person who put it up nose better (grin), it doesn’t make claims like the following any less fun:

“Since I am working as magazine art director with 15 years in business I am shore I can produce my own covers.”

Shore is land by the sea, and I can sea shorely that the art director becoming Kindle author is sure that he or she can produce covers.

And this last gem from an entrepreneur who stayed home to work while his wife and children went on a trip for a couple of weeks:

“And so it turns out, when I wasn’t morning the absence of my family, I’ve had an extremely productive couple of weeks all due to this little habit applied first thing each day.”

What about the absence of the “u” in mourning? If he hadn’t had such a productive time, he could have regretted his decision not to go along any time of the day or night, not just before lunch!

Picking on misused pears: a dangerous pastime?

Maybe the most dangerous thing a writer can do is to claim to be an expert on writing—and especially to make fun of other writers’ mistakes.

I recently published a Kindle book about how to write good online content. Recognizing the danger, I asked members of a writers’ club to look it over. After it went live, I got a long list of suggested corrections from a club member I hadn’t corresponded with before.

To my mind, most of her suggestions were matters of preference and not errors, but she did some real whoppers at the rate of one or two per chapter. Unless you count typing my name as “Davud” in the last paragraph, there was nothing entertaining enough to include in a post like this.

It sure is a good thing that corrections are so easy on Kindle. Now that I have destroyed the evidence, you can get copy that’s error free. Or as one of my late grad school professors would have insisted that I write, more nearly error free. Read and enjoy!


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