Bore, Core, Fore, Gore, Lore, More, Pore, Ore, Sore, Tore, Wore, and Yore. An even dozen of some of the commonest words in the English language. Words that were on spelling tests in elementary school. Words that have only 4 letters, scrabble fodder. Words that are so simple we do not give them a second thought, we trust them to be and do exactly what they say.
Look at them again. Is there a shade of the sinister present? Is there more than meets the eye?
Look at them again. They all have the same three letters: ORE. In and of itself not a bad thing, just one letter, the first letter, different for eleven of the twelve.
Wait, the eighth word is missing a first letter, it is only three letters! Invisibility. What you don’t see can hurt you, and your writing.
What is your super power? Mine is Hyper-Spelling, finding the misspelled words that computers miss.
Eleven. Eleven chances to hide a spelling error that a spell checker will miss. The list-checker computer cannot consider the context.
I can eliminate the invisible spelling errors so your voice and message come through loud and clear.
Bore is a word that has been a part of the English language for a long time. It has many meanings: to make a hole or drill, to go through a crowd, the inside of barrel of a gun, a person who nobody is interested in listening to, tedious or dull talk, and the past tense of carry. Sometimes this word comes to us from Germanic or Norse through old English.
Core is a word that is enjoying a fairly recent surge in popularity. It refers to the center of something, almost anything, from a piece of fruit to a planet or a star. It’s independent of scale and used in many different parts of commercial life. It’s most recent usage is as an acronym for Congress Of Racial Equality.
Fore is a word that has declined in usage over a long period of time. It has several meanings usually centered around the idea of something placed in front or the front part of something. Sailing ships have a foremast, a forecastle and other things. The major decline of sailing as a means of travel mirrors the shrinking usage. There are also uses of fore in certain specialized situations such as medicine and golf.
Gore has three main definitions and the most used definition came to prominence in the 80s with extreme horror and slasher films. That definition has come to mean the bodily fluids and small pieces of body parts that result from extreme violence. The next definition involves stabbing or puncturing with a sharp object. The final definition refers to something tapered or triangular such as a piece of fabric or material. Dress makers, tailors, and sheet metal workers are familiar with this term.
Lore was much more popular around a century ago than it is now. It means a collection of knowledge or traditions within a particular group. It can refer to legends, mythologies, or special skills. We more commonly see this word as part of folklore. There is a highly specialized definition within the field of zoology: the space between a bird’s eye and it’s upper beak, and the space on a snake’s face between it’s eye and nostril.
More is a word that has a high usage pattern for centuries. Why not, we all want more! This is a word meaning additional amount or beyond a common amount.
Ore is the base of all these other words, and it has it’s own definition. It is a naturally occurring material that contains some material that can be extracted for a profitable use.
Pore has seen a slow and steady increase in usage since 1900. The primary definition means a small opening in skin or a membrane allowing some fluids or particles to pass. The secondary definition is fairly academic, it means to study intently, think or ponder on at length.
Sore is a word that has sunk in the ratings, it doesn’t get as much play as it did over a century ago. Perhaps because we don’t engage in as much physical activity as in the past. It can mean a painful or aching part of the body, also someone is angry because of some insult or slight.
Tore is the past tense of tear. The primary definition involves violent action such as shredding a letter, ripping something from someone’s possession, causing damage. It can also mean to move very quickly or to struggle with a choice. She was torn between serving her country or her church.
Wore is the past tense of wear. The primary definition involves putting clothing or something else on your body for protection or decoration. Secondarily, it involves the degradation of something by friction or some other agent. The constant dribble of water wore a hole in the concrete.
Yore is a word that is used far less now than it was a century or more ago. It brings to mind times long past, it has a heavy nostalgia sense.
There they are, 12 words with similar sounds and the same last three letters. If you use the wrong word, the reader could feel like they lost their footing and fell down, as they read your book. They may feel like leaving your story because it is too hard to figure out what you are trying to say. Do everything in your power to prevent that from happening, do not give your reader a reason to close your book. Use Word Refiner, beta readers, critique partners, proofreaders and editors to ensure that your work is error free and as smooth reading as possible, keep the magic flowing.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this issue of Typos Hurt Your Writing. Follow me on twitter: @wordrefiner; for more Hazardous Homophones and Terrible Typos search for #HomophonesHurtYourWriting and #TyposHurtYourWriting on twitter.
Don’t forget the free sample of “proofreading your book” for writers under the “Learn More” tab on http://www.wordrefiner.com/.
I offer another service at a great value, see the “Review Your Book” tab.
Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.