Which witch is which?

With only a slight difference in spelling, the words ‘which’ and ‘witch’ can be easily confused. This is a good example of a homophone – two words that sound the same but have a different meaning. If you said them out loud, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference without context.

Using the wrong word can confuse your readers and unintentionally change the meaning of what you say. When it comes to homophones, it’s helpful to find tricks that help you remember the different spellings.

Witch

A witch describes a woman who is seen as having magical or supernatural abilities. A popular depiction of a witch will often see her wearing a pointy black hat or riding a broomstick. She may even have a crooked nose, black cat and a cauldron.

Witches are often used in popular media like books, movies and even musicals – any ‘Wicked’ fans out there? We’ve seen the friendly sister witches in ‘Charmed’ and the bad witches of the classic Halloween film ‘Hocus Pocus’. Not forgetting Roald Dahl’s imagery created by ‘The Witches’ who turn children into mice, or the many magical witches and wizards in the popular Harry Potter series of books and films.

Here are some examples of the word ‘witch’ used in a sentence:

The wicked witch cast a spell over the town

It was rumoured the old lady on the corner was secretly a witch

It’s almost time for Halloween, where the ghosts, ghouls and witches come out to play

She was accused of using witchcraft to make him fall in love with her

Which

‘Which’ is a little more complicated to explain. Unlike the noun ‘witch’, this word can be used as question, a pronoun and a determiner. As a pronoun, it can be used to add further information to a clause. As a determiner, it can be used if you are trying to determine between two or more things – which one is it?

Here are some examples where ‘which’ is used correctly:

Which way did the taxi go?

I need a new car, but which model should I choose?

It’s brand new, which means nobody else has used it yet

Bob didn’t know which shirt to wear to the party

The two look so much alike that nobody can tell which is which

How to remember the difference

A good way to remember when to use ‘which’ is to lump it with the other questions – who, what, when, where, and why. All of these pronouns begin with the same ‘wh’. If you are asking a question, you know to use ‘which’.

A ‘witch’ on the other hand is only used as a noun. It may help to think of a memorable phrase such as ‘witches have wit’ or ‘the witch had a twitch’. This can help you remember how to spell it correctly and to include the ’t’. You could also remember that witch and wizard both begin with ‘wi’ so just think of witches and wizards like the ones in Harry Potter.

So which witch will you be using?

Hopefully, this blog has given you a few tips to remember the difference between ‘which’ and ‘witch’, but here are some more examples:

The witch couldn’t remember which spell to use

Which way is the witch’s house?

Which is your favourite fictional witch?

Which witch had a twitch?

If you found this blog post helpful you might want to check out some of the other homophones we’ve covered, such as ‘threw/through’, ‘bare/bear’ and ‘dessert/desert’.

Are there any homophones you find tricky? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter and we might feature it for our next homophones blog.

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