Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Commonly Confused Words--The A to Z Writing Challenge

The letter H is the topic of today's challenge, and since I know a very nice lady's subject is probably hyphens, I'll identify several commonly used words starting with the letter H that sound the same, but are spelled differently and that have a very different meaning. I tell you, it's totally embarrassing writing a query letter and putting in the wrong word that's spelled correctly.

Hair: what grows on one's head or body
Hare: a rabbit

See? They sound the same, and spell check doesn't know the difference between them, but an editor or literary agent will laugh at you when they read your query about that old man with that single hare growing on top of his head. Yeah...

Then there's this mistake.

Have vs. of

Should've, could've, and would've are contraction of should have, could have, and would have. There's no such thing as should of, could of, or would of.

Heal: to cure.
Heel: a part of your foot.

Heroin: an illegal narcotic.
Heroine: female admired for courage or ability.

Hear: to listen.
Here: in this spot.

Heard: listened.
Herd: a flock of animals.

Hole: an opening.
Whole: entire, complete.

Hour: 60 minutes.
Our: possessive pronoun.

There are so many more words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean something totally different, that I believe English is the hardest language to learn--and it's my first language!

Do you have a favorite misspelled word?


claudia cane said...

Just hopped over from A-Z. So clever! Great idea for a post. Wish I'd thought of it:) I'll definitely be back!

J.L. Schmidt said...

As a former English teacher, the "should of" etc DROVE. ME. CRAZY!

Another one that irritates me no end would be:
Loose vs. Lose

You LOSE your car keys and cannot find them.
A screw can come LOOSE, causing the shelf to fall upon your head.

Fabulous post!

Grover said...

I have trouble with 'brain' and 'Brian' - and they don't even sound the same! *sigh* there's no hope for me.

Inane Ramblings

Margo Kelly said...

HOMOPHONES! Love them! ... so you know a nice lady blogging about HYPHENS?! I'd like to read that post! haha ... my post today is about HYPERBOLE! :)

Thanks for another great post.

Sandra Tyler said...

fun H post!

Elaine Smith said...

Between homonyms, homophones and homographs anyone can find themselves a whole lot of confused ;)

Kathy Wiechman said...

Great post! So good to see someone point out the should've, could've, would've situation. I cringe when I read "should of."
Kathy @ Swagger Writers

Trisha F said...

Yeah, "should of" is really annoying to me too. And lately I've noticed more and more people confusing "then" and "than", which totally drives me crazy.

Debra Erfert said...

Claudie, I'm glad you clicked on over!

J.L., I still get dinged on lose and loose, chose, and choose. I don't know why...Thank goodness for beta readers (see last Tuesday).

Grover, oh, great! Now I'll be writing brian when I really mean, you know, that organ in the head. *sighs*

Margo, that was a twist up. I could've sworn you would do hyphens. Hyperboles are so cool!

Sandra, thank you!

Elaine, I'm always confused. That's why I like writing. I can take my time and think things through before I put them to "paper."

Kathy, I hate to admit it, but I was one of the "should of" offenders back when I first started writing. I know better now.

Trisha, we all have to start someplace, and as we critique other's works, we need to be mindful that not everyone is where we are now. Sometimes my computer works against me and "autocorrects" the stupid wrong word!!! Now that's annoying.

Nick Wilford said...

There are so many tricky bits to English, I'm impressed that so many people learn it so well as a second language!

Karen Adair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Adair said...

I see SO many misspelled words listed here in the comments. Then/than, lose/loose...they drive me crazy when I see them. Especially online, though I tell myself that autocorrect is at fault. I don't want to believe that people are purposefully misspelling them. *shudder* :)

Wendy Jo said...

I love it! I'm pretty good at keeping them straight, but sometimes when I'm tired I get easily confused and use the wrong one. I also can't remember how to spell THE a lot, so...I probably should quit writing when I'm tired ;)

Debra Mauldin said...

Great Blog with very informative information on grammar and writing! I will have to remember the 'should of' part. I'm sure I've made this mistake before. :)
I'm visiting from that A-Z Road Trip.

SNOWDRIFT a romance novel

I have a new novel on pre-order. Snowdrift is my first romance, and I love the characters so much!  Here is what the story is about....