Bare with me: more misused pears

I was on live chat with a technician, and at one point he had to look something up. So he typed, “Bare with me.” Well! I’m pretty selective when it comes to either making that invitation or accepting it. Besides, it’s much more fun when we’re in the same room. Here’s another instance where a pear (oops, pair) of homonyms tripped someone up. He chose the wrong word. He meant, “Bear with me.” Bear as a verb has numerous meanings. Among others, it means to tolerate or endure. In this case, “put up with my absence for a while.” Bear … Continue reading

Reigning in misused pears

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 … Continue reading

Two pees in a pot: students’ misused pears

The Internet is full of bad writing by people who ought to take more pride in their work. In this series of posts, I have had fun with homonyms and enjoyed publishing the results of careless writers who choose wrongly from a pear (grin) of words. Now I find that teachers also enjoy posting excerpts from their students’ tests and papers. Some of those kids have a lot more serious problems than simply choosing the right word! Here are a few beauties: We were as close as two pees in a pot. He urines to be accepted. Steinbeck always wrote … Continue reading

Summery or summary? More misused pears

Many years ago, one of my birthday presents was an enormous eraser–about the size of an index card, 3×5. On it was printed the boast, “I never make misteaks.” That’s hard for me to type; my spell checker auto-corrects. It’s embarrassing to find mistakes in my own writing (unless they’re intentional)–but sometimes great fun to catch someone else’s. English has lots of homonyms. For anyone who wasn’t paying attention during several years of school language classes, that means English has lots of pairs of words that sound the same but have different spellings. Inevitably some careless writer will choose the … Continue reading

Where your spell checker is no help: more misused pears

People search online for writing tips because they want to improve their writing. Perhaps you came to this post because you typed “writing tips” into a search engine. Maybe you want to clean mistakes out of your own writing. Maybe you teach writing and want something for your students. Or maybe you just want some fun with homonyms. Actually, I love mistakes in writing, provided that either someone else makes them or I get to do it deliberately to make a point. I have certainly enjoyed writing “misused pears” instead of “misused pairs” as part of the title of this … Continue reading