Homophones and Typos Hurt Your Writing

My name is Mark and I am your Hyper-Speller.

What is Hyper-Spelling? It is my unique talent to find spelling errors in published books. I am your spelling proofreader.

Do I find spelling errors in a lot of books? Yes, I do, I find spelling errors in over 95% of published books, mainstream publishers included.

How many books do I read in a year? On average I read a book a week, that’s 50 to 55 books each year. I review most of these books also, my book reviews are located at https://www.wordrefiner.com

Do I ever find a book without spelling errors? Yes, one book a year on average is spelling error free.

I love to read and I hate spelling errors because they interrupt the pure pleasure of reading. I hope you will enjoy my posts as I talk about words that can trip most any writer at one time or another.

What is Word Refining?

Most any dictionary: Refine– to remove impurities and imperfections, to make purer.

horse shoe molding

Like a blacksmith with heat, hammer and anvil; I work the written word, purifying all spelling errors, to bring clarity to your message and voice. I have been doing this kind of work for all types of literature, fiction and non-fiction, casual and technical. For over 40 years I have refined many types of spelling errors which fall into 4 main categories:

  1. Misspelled words- words that are commonly caught by the spellcheckers on our computers. Some computers apparently do not have a spellchecker or the writer chooses not to use it. I see this type of error more frequently than expected.

  2. Misplaced words- words that are correctly spelled but used in the wrong context. Most spellcheckers are not very good at context. These types of errors are commonly caused by homophones and typographical errors.

  3. Missing words- words that are not there but should be.

  4. Multiple words- a word used too too many times in a sentence; like this sentence.

Of these errors, #2 is what I see the most. There are many reasons that these errors are so prevalent; not the least of is, that the English language is such a hodgepodge of bits and pieces of other languages, it is full of words that sound alike and have different spellings. These words are known as homophones and there are thousands in the English language.

Homophones that nearly everybody might be familiar with includes: to, too, two, or do, due, and dew. There are a lot of them in our everyday life, one of my favorites is right, write, rite, and wright. Quadruple homophones, are rare as a four-leaf clover. I will be doing a series on these homophone groups.

Typographical errors are caused by less than accurate typing. It is quite easy to write a correctly spelled word by typing only one letter wrong. Must, mist and most is a good example, the second letter of each word is different and all three of the vowels are side by side on our qwerty keyboard. Thank you Mr. Qwerty for that big favor. 😉 There are other ways to make a valid word with typographical errors. I will write about many of these types of errors also.

Because so many of us have become accustomed to thinking like we speak, we write what we hear in our head without always taking the time to verify the proper spelling. If the spell checker sees a correctly spelled word on its list, then an invisible spelling error is created. It will sit there, silently smirking, until it is exposed and corrected. My mission is to reveal these errors and set writing straight.

The downside here is that we are constantly represented by our written words, if words are not correctly spelled, then we have not put our best foot forward. We may find the first impression we give is the only opportunity we get. Poor spelling can cause us not just problems but can cause us unanticipated hardships. In this competitive world we live in, it is essential to our success to always be at the top of our game in every way possible.

So, write right like a wright for a rite. I will be talking about these quadruple homophones and others in the future.

Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.

Search for my hashtags online: #HomophonesHurtYourWriting and #TyposHurtYourWriting

How can I serve you?

You can always find me at https://www.wordrefiner.com and I am Twitter a lot https://twitter.com/wordrefiner 

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A Snapshot of Writing

hl gibson, author

A Snapshot of WritingThe creation of art can be a wonderful and dreadful process at the same time. Some of the struggles I’ve encountered with my chosen art form of writing include writer’s block, doubts and fears regarding my abilities, the evil query and rejection letters, comparison, envy, impatience, and the list goes on and on. But every now and then, there are lamps along the tunnel as I travel toward the light at the end. That’s when it’s wonderful.

As an outlet for my frustration, I began to tag along with my sister-in-law when she took photographs. She’s really quite good and a patient teacher as well when I asked her questions on how she approached her shot. One of the ways she explained the process was to hand the camera to me. I declined the opportunity to even hold her camera, which looked far too technical and expensive, but in addition…

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Homophones Hurt Your Writing: Ware, Wear, Weir and Where

Welcome to this edition of Words For Thought. Like many of the previous blogs we are looking at homophones. Words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings.
As the Hyper-Speller at Word Refiner, I understand how important it is to have an error free manuscript. With over 40 years of experience, I have found that homophones give almost every writer fits and difficulties. Because we sound words out in our mind, it is easy to write the wrong word. The correctly spelled word in the wrong context will not be flagged by most spell-checkers. The Hyper-Speller at Word Refiner is dedicated to uprooting all of these hidden errors and providing your document free of spelling errors that you want and deserve.  I find these invisible spelling errors in 95% of published books.

Now onto today’s episode, number seven in an ongoing series!

Three of these four words are in pretty common usage for people. One is used in the names of stores or places. The fourth word is quite limited in use, it has a very specific meaning. They have a common ancestry from Old English and Germanic roots. These words have been with us for a long time. I do not see that changing anytime in the near future.

Ware is a word that may not seem familiar at first glance. But it is widely used in different forms, it has three main definitions; so let’s look closer. Pottery ware can be bought at many places, it can be used to contain food or other items. There is also crystal ware, dinnerware, and others. This refers to things of a specific type or use. Items offered for sale are stored in a warehouse. These are noun forms.
We are often admonished to be on guard, be aware, or most commonly beware. It means we are to take care and observe what is happening, be careful. Especially when using free Wi-Fi, beware of doing any banking.
Ware has an archaic form also. The archaic form has the idea of being cognizant of your surroundings and events.

Wear is such a common word, we do not even give it a second thought, but it also has multiple definitions and used as noun and verb, depending on the context. Primarily a verb, having to do with clothing, personal decorations and styles. What are you going to wear to the party? We wear clothing, hats and tattoos. We wear or adopt certain hairstyles. He always wears a scowl, nobody ever sees him smile.
The secondary verb form refers to damage or destruction cause by rubbing or erosion of some type. Because the parking brake was left on while driving, there was considerable wear on the brake shoes. It can also be used in a positive sense. The front door mat is wearing well because everyone uses the back door.
Functioning as a noun, the things we have or will have on. Business Casual wear is necessary for this lecture and lunch.  I think that black suit will be great evening wear for the party.

Weir is the most unusual of these homonyms. It has a very limited and specific use. Dam or fence. It is a noun and refers to a low dam to control flowing water, or it is a style of fish trap in the water; it looks like a fence.

Where is an adverb. It refers to a position, perspective or point of view. It can be part of a question or a declaration, it is widely used and has been for a long time. Where would we be without adverbs? Where did he get that car? Where do you plan on getting the financing? This is where I live. Sit where I can see you both. Having met his family, I can see where he got his smarts.

There they are, four words with identical sounds, unrelated history and definitions.  If you choose the wrong word the reader will feel like they hit a spot of turbulence while flying in your book.  Do all in your power to preserve the flow of imagination you worked so hard to construct. Do not give your readers a reason to close your book. Use Word Refiner, beta readers, critique partners, proofreaders and editors to be certain your work is error free and as smooth as possible.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this issue of Homophones Hurt Your Writing.  Follow me on twitter: @wordrefiner, for more alerts about hazardous homophones search for  #HomophonesHurtYourWriting on twitter. Don’t forget the free offer for writers under the “Learn More” tab on my website. I offer another service at a great value, see the Review Your Book tab.
quadruple homophones
Remember: Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.

God Gives Us Teenagers Because He Loves Us

Our Father is so patient with us.

hl gibson, author

I have a theory. I’ve been sitting on it for about six years, keeping it to myself as I mulled it over and tested it. I experience it in daily life especially when interacting with my teenager. It goes like this: I ask Joshua to do something, and he responds with “Oh joy, oh rapture” to let me know that he is not going to enjoy what I’ve asked him to do. I already knew that what I requested of him wasn’t meant to produce pleasure, but nevertheless, it needs to be done. A voice in my head whispers, “Kind of like I told you (insert request here) needs to be done.”

Another example is when Joshua asks me for something, and the answer is no.  I usually follow up with a tactfully pointed out, “Why would I spend money on (insert desired objection) when you don’t appreciate what I’ve…

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It Didn’t Cost Me a Thing

hl gibson, author

I remember how much a loaf of bread cost the year my husband and I married. I remember the price of a gallon of gas the year I started driving. I also remember the hourly rate a teenage girl could make babysitting in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, I have never written about any of these things in my novels or short stories.

When I need to know how much something costs for the year during which my story takes place, I can usually find it by Googling. But every now and then, I use an inflation calculator to go backward or forward in time and come up with a price.

Most often, the US Inflation Calculator, which works for prices between the years of 1913 and 2018 (updates to current year), is my go-to source for pricing. In the event I need to tiptoe farther into the past (1800)…

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Homophones Hurt Your Writing Peak, Peek, Peke, and Pique

Welcome to this edition of Homophones Hurt Your Writing. Like many of the previous blogs we are looking at homophones. Words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings.

I understand how important it is to have an error-free manuscript. With over 40 years of experience, I have found that homophones give almost every writer fits and hitches.  The correctly spelled word in the wrong context will not be flagged by most spell-checkers.

Word Refiner is dedicated to uprooting all of these hidden errors and providing the document free of spelling errors that you want and deserve.

Now, onto today’s episode, number 6 in the series of Quadruple Homophones!

 

These four words present an interesting group. They are related by sound only, true homophones. Two are English and one has multiple meanings, one is Oriental, and one is French. They are all from the last half of the previous millennia, and two have been in use in the English language for less than 200 years.

Peak is a widely used word, it functions as a noun, verb and an adjective. It has a history going back several hundred years in the English language. It is also an archaic word with a rather startling twist, as we shall see later.  At the core, it means top or point, like a mountain or a graph. It also can refer to a person’s or group’s abilities or popularity. It has many synonyms such as summit, climax, acme, and zenith to name a few. It can refer to facial features such as a widow’s peak or the peak of a beard.

In the United Kingdom it can mean the stiff brim of a cap. It can also refer to an extension of a sail on a sailing vessel.

In one sense perhaps, peak is its own antonym, an opposite meaning in health. In the early 17th century it was part of a phrase “peak and pine” that meant to shrivel or waste away. We have William Shakespeare to thank for that. Perhaps, he was making a joke, and we are simply too removed in space, time and culture to appreciate it.

Peek has a similar multi-century history as part of the English language, as does the previous word. It is a slightly sneaky word, it means to take a quick or furtive look. We can peek around a tree, we can peek into someone’s background (the internet has made that easier than ever in a number of ways) and play peek-a-boo with a child. It is a singular word in usage and definition.

Peke is our word from the Orient, it is the youngest word of this group in the English language. It is an abbreviation of Pekingese, a small dog with long hair, short legs and a pushed in nose. This lapdog was introduced in the 1860’s to Europe from Pekin, China; now known as Beijing. It was a very popular dog with the aristocracy of both civilizations. It is common for Pekes to have difficulties with breathing.

Pique is one of many words that have dual citizenship in both the English and French language. It actually has a split personality because it can be pronounced two different ways, more on that later. Primarily, from the middle of the 16th century, it means to feel resentful or irritated because of a perceived insult. Some synonyms are petulance, indignation and vexation. It can also be a verb and means to stimulate or irritate, it can be either positive or negative.

The second pronunciation is not a homophone to the others: “peekay”. It is from the same time approximately as Pekingese, and it means a stiff fabric woven in a raised or ribbed pattern. The literal translation of the French is “backstitched”.

 

There they are, four words with identical sounds, an entangled history and rather unrelated definitions.  If you choose the wrong word the reader will feel like they hit a speed bump and might drive off your road.  Do all in your power to prevent that from happening.  Use Word Refiner, beta readers, critique partners, proofreaders and editors to ensure that your work is error free.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this issue of Homophones Hurt Your Writing.  Follow us on twitter: @wordrefiner  for more alerts about hazardous homonyms #HomophonesHurtYourWriting.

Don’t forget the free offer for writers under the “Learn More” tab on wordrefiner.com 

I also have another exceptional value for book promotions on the Review Your Book tab of my website.

 

Words have meaning and spelling makes a difference

How to Optimise your Amazon Page for Conversions

FELIX THE FOX MYSTERIES

Hedgehog reading

I’ve mentioned before the importance of setting readers’ expectations as part of my article on how I review books. This is a companion article for indie publishers and authors, about what you can do to make sure that your book hits the right target audience, for best reception.

First for foremost, it should be absolutely clear that no book is ever for every reader. Don’t believe me? Just pick a book you cherish, and go to Amazon to read all the 1-star reviews. 40,000 people thought The Lord of the Rings was such a snooze-fest, that they felt compelled to say so on Goodreads. Thousands of people think Harry Potter is juvenile trite. Don’t even start looking at less popular classics, acknowledged as influencing modern literature. Your brain will cringe.

So with this understanding, we can realise also that in order for a book to be well-received it needs…

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Who’s Your Momma?

hl gibson, author

Shirley Tedesco has her hands full with eight children ranging in age from five to sixteen, but she loves being a mother. She’s also very practical about the whole endeavor and readily distributes hugs or spanks as needed to keep her brood of eight angels/hoodlums in line. In the chapter of my novel, The Tedescos, titled “Soul Food,” Shirley is feeling like less of a mother than she normally does. Her husband, Joe, knows she’s experiencing a bout of the blues, and his heart breaks for her. Joe springs into action with a Mother’s Day celebration sure to lift Shirley’s spirits and quite possibly earn him some points.

While writing, I knew that Mother’s Day had been established long before the year during which my novel took place, but the research provided some interesting history with which I’d like to honor mothers everywhere.

One of the earliest example of…

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10 Writing Things That Took Awhile To Learn

Some really good advice here! I agree with all of it.

Brain Clutter Blogs

These are some of the things that I’ve learned over the years, a lot of them things that I probably should have known, and that maybe you need to know, too. Some are more important than others, but they aren’t in any particular order. Let’s jump right in!

#1: Don’t Publish Right Away

If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, like Revision & Editing: Not Optional, than you know I can really close to publishing my first draft. Got proof copies and everything. But, you aren’t supposed to publish as soon as you finish your first draft. You need to go through developmental editing, but even after that’s done, and you have your nice, formatted and covered book, you still won’t want to publish right away. You want to give yourself time to order and review proofs, promote and build hype for your book (with ARCs and presale…

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