Homophones are two or more words that sound the same when spoken but have different spellings and/or meanings.
There are hundreds of homophones in the English language. Some are well known, such as they’re, there and their. Some are a little trickier such as illicit and elicit or immerged and emerged.
Recognising that homophones exist and learning when to use which version is important. The wrong use of a word could (affect or effect) the impact of (your or you’re) copy. Spelling mistakes in your website copy, emails, blogs, reports or print materials might imply that you haven’t taken the (time or thyme) to (check or cheque) it. That may lead the reader (to, two or too) think that you just don’t care or you’re the kind of company that rushes things.
We aren’t saying that you will lose millions of pounds over the wrong use of principal or principle, but attention to detail matters. Wouldn’t you rather work with a company that takes the time to do things well?
So now you’re thinking about those sneaky homophones, you’re probably wondering how you can avoid getting (caught or court) out by practice or practise, assistance or assistants and presence or presents.
Never fear. We’re (here or hear) to help you get to (know or no) some of the homophones that catch people out. We’ll let you in on some of the tricks for remembering when to use (which or witch) word.
Let that bee be
We’ve picked a nice easy one to start with; be and bee.
‘Be’ is a verb, as in ‘to be’ and is used more widely. You may be going someplace, be doing something or be somewhere.
‘Bee’ is a noun relating to our buzzy little honey-gathering friends. You may have a bee in your bonnet, be as busy as a bee or think you’re the bee’s knees.
You may also attend a spelling bee or a sewing bee, although this use of bee is more common in the USA than the UK.
So how do you remember which spelling to use? A simple way to remember is that a bee buzzes and buzz has a double ‘z’ and bee has a double ‘e’.
More help with homophones
That’s a nice easy one to get started but if you’d like to know more about stationery and stationary, compliment and complement or patients and patience, follow our blog. We’ll be looking in detail at these homophones and more, so follow us on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter.
If there’s a homophone you (find or fined) particularly tricky then let us know in the comments or tweet us @MYCCUK and we’ll write a post about it.
Of (course or coarse), if you just find homophones hard to handle, then we can proofread any of your documents (for, four or fore) you. You can be (confident or confidant) that we know the right way to write rite.