Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hair & Hare

This word pair surely marks one of the first times I became aware of homophones. (Although, I suppose, if I'm going to be honest, it was more likely "but"and "butt.") To this day, it's one of the first homophone pairs that springs to mind when someone asks for an example, right behind "bare" and "bear."
In fact, given my love of illustrating animals, I should compile all the animal homophones together sometime – hare, ant, moose, horse, bear, mussel, boar, deer, ewe/ewes, flea, gorilla, lynx. Gulp, I guess I've got my work cut out for me.
Any I'm missing? Jay? Hart? Oooh, I may have to go back and revise "rays." Dang.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Emigrate & Immigrate

OK, so, technically these aren't homophones. But they're close. And from time to time I do hear "emigrate" used where "immigrate" should be. (I'm looking at you, NPR.)
One never emigrates TO a place. One always emigrates FROM a place.

Ah, Paris. We all have dreams, don't we?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Carat, Caret, Carrot, Karat

Carat – a measure of weight used mainly for gemstones, equal to 200 mg.
Caret – a typographic mark shaped like an inverted V.
Carrot – a plant of the parsley family, or its edible root.
Karat – a measure of the percentage of gold in an alloy, equal to 4.1667%. (Though it is worth noting that outside the US, this spelling is not used. Instead, this AND the gemstone usage are both spelled "carat.")