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Writing Workshop

The perils of sound-alike words

For writers, sound-alike words can mean trouble. It’s awkward to realize you’ve used the wrong “there/their/they’re” or that you typed “accept” when you meant “except,” but other sound-alikes can be even more embarrassing.

For example, a student in one of my classes recently used the word “fowl” instead of “foul.” That put an entirely different twist on the sentence … and not in a good way.

The blurb below has the same problem — can you spot it?

The first person to spot and correct this typo earns two points extra credit. Please post your correction as a comment.

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14 thoughts on “The perils of sound-alike words

  1. Nicole Reynoso on said:

    I believe in this blurb,the word that would be used incorrectly is “jobsite” when it should really be “job site” 🙂

    • You might be right, but I’m not sure on this one. I didn’t find an AP Stylebook listing for it, and I just realized my dictionary is at school … and I’m not. How about checking further on this?

  2. Cynthia Ly on said:

    gopher –> gofer

    I am pretty sure he isn’t a small furry animal.

  3. Anna White on said:

    It seems the writer meant “gofer” as in a person who runs errands, not the animal “gopher”.

    • Good catch! I’m sure the writer did not mean to imply that his editor was a small furry animal with big teeth. (I’ve seen one close-up — gophers have big teeth.)

  4. I think the typo in this article is that, “gopher” should be spelled “gofer.”

  5. Dorian Silva on said:

    its GOFER not GOPHER

  6. I didn’t notice it until I read through it a third time. At the very beginning, it says in larger type, “Scott Omelianuk,” then a space and then in smaller type, “Scott Omelianuk, Editor.” I say start the smaller type on the next line because it confuses the readers (looks like his name was accidentally doubled) and THEN, don’t capitalize “Editor.” His career title is indicated after his name, so it doesn’t need to be capitalized anymore. 🙂

  7. Nevermind, I’m kidding. I forgot that you’re looking for a homonym correction. Woops!

  8. Hah, found it. Aside from the previous “error” I found, I kinda noticed “carpenter’s gopher” didn’t seem right because he’s certainly not a rodent nor a building material… so I found out and it’s supposed to be “carpenter’s GOFER” meaning a menial hired to fetch things. There you go!

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