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

Pouring over a book and other misused pears

Some pears of words are so much alike that authors frequently choose the wrong one. Oh. That should be pairs, shouldn’t it? Pour/Pore A highly respected Bible teacher urged readers of a workbook to “pourĀ over their Bibles” in order to find answers. Pouring over the Bible, or any other book, could make it impossible to read it until the mess is cleaned up. She doesn’t suggest just what students should pour over their Bibles, but almost any liquid would do irreparable damage. “Pour” means to make a fluid (liquid or granular solid) flow. Pour water into a glass or perhaps … Continue reading

No ball playing aloud: more misused pears

A group of boys loved to play ball on a vacant lot. The owner didn’t like it, so he put up a sign. The next time he went past his lot, he was appalled to see the boy all over his property and yelled at them, “Can’t you read the sign?” One of the boys answered, “Yes sir. We’re playing as quietly as we can.” The sign said, “No ball playing aloud.” Did he have trouble spelling? Or did he just not know what homonym to use? “Aloud” (adverb) means with the voice, and louder than a whisper. He meant … Continue reading

Wrong word rant, or, misused pears

I had a chat on Facebook not long ago where my friend was enthusiastically explaining a new school he had started. His writing was atrocious. He never capitalized anything. Punctuation seemed entirely random. Faced with homonyms (words that sound similar but are spelled differently), he used the wrong one more often than not. He took great offense when I expressed the hope that he was more careful in corresponding with parents. I think I know why he misused words with so little concern. Listening to radio news about 30 years ago, I heard about someone who had just gotten a … Continue reading