When I was at school, many, many moons ago, we learned about homonyms. These are words that sound the same, but have different spellings and meanings. We were given lists of hthem and told to write a sentence containing each and showing what it means. Some of them are very tricky, and often catch people out. Yes, even writers!
A recent spate of these in a variety of places has prompted me to write this little post to try to help. So here we go!
We all know the first of these. It’s what happens in the rain. We get WET. But the second? WHET is to sharpen something. Hence a WHETSTONE, which is something used to sharpen knives, daggers, swords scissors, etc. It does not need to be wetted before use as it’s not a WETSTONE. When I was little, I thought that’s what it was and pictured people sharpening their knives with a bucket of water by their sides to keep the stone wet.
So we WHET our appetite, we don’t WET it.
Davrael sat by his horse WHETTING his knife before the battle.
As we sat down to our meal, the waiter brought a small savoury to WHET our appetites.
When the dragonet plunged into the water, they all got WET.
This is one I’ve mentioned before, but I make no excuse for doing it again. I see it spelled wrongly far too often.
Peek. This is a quick, or sometimes sneaky look at something. Many authors will give a sneak PEEK at a chapter of their new book.
Peak. The top of something, often a mountain.
Thadora PEEKED around the corner to make sure there were no guards visible before venturing into the alley.
The climbers were exhausted by the time they reached the PEAK of the mountain.
I think that the fact that Peek is often written after Sneak that causes the problem.
Pour. To run in a steady stream, or, of rain, to fall heavily.
Pore (verb). To be absorbed in reading or studying something.
When we went to catch the bus it was POURING with rain.
The barman POURED a measure of whisky into the glass.
In order to pass the test to leave his apprenticeship behind, Carthinal PORED over the magic texts.
Pore (noun) a small hole, often in tissue, such as skin or plant tissues, or even in rock.
Poor Needy, destitute, penniless, lacking money.
He had runs so hard he was sweating through every PORE.
Under the leaves, plant have small PORES called stomata.
The woman was so POOR that she could barely afford to eat, and her clothes were ragged.
And one I had never thought about, but I came across only the other day on a notice for a lost cat.
Spade An implement for digging.
Spayed the neutering of a female animal (usually cat or dog) by surgically removing the ovaries.
(the sign said ‘Lost Cat, Black and white, called Shadow, spade…’ I had a picture of said cat digging the garden!
The ground was so hard after so little rain that I nearly broke my SPADE when trying to dig it.
There are so many unwanted cats in the district that all cat owners are requested to have their animals SPAYED.
I hope this has made it a bit clearer.
Please leave your comments in the comments box. I like to hear what you think.