Homophones, by request!
Blue emailed me (thanks, Blue!) and asked that I address those tricky words that sound the same but which decidedly AREN’T. It’s a timely topic, given that my students are handing in the final drafts of their persuasive speeches and I’m seeing a lot of these types of errors at the moment. Ready or not, here we go!
threw the past tense of the verb “throw.” He threw out a wise-ass comment about her cooking, and she threw her shoe at him.
through is most commonly a preposition that means “in one side (or end) and out the other.” The quickest way to the theatre is through the park. It can also function as an adverb (“the train goes through to D.C.”) and an adjective (I’m through with this nonsense; I’m going home”).
My students cannot be bothered to learn these!
there is generally used as an adverb meaning “in or at a place.” I’ll be there at six thirty.
they’re is a contraction meaning “they are.” They’re going to be late, so we’ll get a table and order an appetizer while we wait.
their is the plural possessive of “they.” Jake and Suzi gave their old car to their daughter, who promptly repainted it a striking shade of purple.
roll is generally a verb which means “to move along a surface by revolving or rotating.” Whenever I drop coins, they to roll in a million different directions. It can also be a noun (a roll of paper towels or a dinner roll).
role is a noun that means “a part or a function played.” The actor’s role in the film was that of the scorned lover.
or is a conjunction that indicates a choice. The entree choice on the invitation specified either chicken or fish.
oar is a noun meaning a paddle. She’s only got one oar in the water (I heard someone use this phrase the other day, and it made me grin).
ore is a noun meaning a metal-bearing mineral or rock. The iron ore is processed in a giant facility outside of Cleveland.
dual is an adjective that notates two. The silicon potholder serves the dual purpose of taking hot things out of the oven and keeping the bowl from sliding on the countertop when I’m whipping cream.
duel is a noun that means a prearranged combat between two people. The testosterone-poisoned boys agreed to a duel to settle their dispute about a girl who didn’t even know either boy existed.
sees is a present tense of the verb “see.” She sees the socks on the floor, but they’re not hers so she’s not going to pick them up.
seas is a plural of the noun “sea.” Of all the seas in the world, I suspect I’d like the Caribbean the best.
seize is a verb that means to take hold of suddenly or forcefully. The baby seized my finger with a strength of grip that surprised me.
Happy Wednesday, All! Keep those grammar questions coming!