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The Mojo of technical communication and writing as mused by Dr. Lu Kondor

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tip in writing: Beware the homophone

In many forms of writing, a writer relies on word processors to catch issues. One issue that is difficult for word processors to catch are mistakes with homophones. According to Merriam-Webster (2014) a homophone is "a word that is pronounced like another word but is different in meaning, origin, or spelling." In writing that needs to be clear and concise, this accidental switch will definitely confuse a reader. Just imagine switching minor with miner, elicit with illicit, or switch theirs with there's. A switch like that may not happen often for most writers, but it is still a great idea to read through work to look for any of these issues so that they don't get into a document, especially if one is a lone writer at an organization and has no editor.

My vote for the most accidental use of a homophone: to and too
It is just too easy to hit that extra o by accident.

Merriam-Webster. (2014). Homophone. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homophones?show=0&t=1390180461

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