Sunday, 25 May 2014

Putting English into practice, or should that be “practise”? Confusable Homonyms!

Homonyms (also known as homophones - words that have different meanings yet are spelt or sound the same) are sometimes huge problems for English users. Below are some examples.

‘Affect/Effect’‘Affect’ is a verb meaning ‘make a difference to’. ‘Effect’ can be both a noun and a verb meaning ‘a result’ or ‘to bring about a result’. For example, the effect of the rain meant my shirt got soaked and over time, this began to affect my health.

‘Practice/Practise’‘Practice’ is a noun: ‘to put policy into practice’, whereas ‘pratise’ is a verb: ‘I need to practise my French’.

‘Imminent/Eminent/Immanent’ – Three confusables: ‘Imminent’ means ‘something about to happen’, such as ‘the imminent hail storm’. ‘Eminent’ relates to a person of high status, such as ‘an eminent king’, or something protruding, such as an ‘eminent cliff face’. ‘Immanent’ is something inherent or inborn, such as ‘the right to a family life is immanent in the Human Rights Act’.

‘Wreath/Wreathe’ – a wreath, as we all know, is noun for a circular band of flowers or leaves, whereas ‘wreathe’ is a verb meaning to adorn something with a wreath. In other words, you may ‘wreathe your front door with a wreath at Christmas’.

‘Stationery/Stationary’‘stationery’ is a mass noun for writing equipment and office supplies, whereas ‘stationary’ is an adjective for something not moving. Remember [e]nvelopes are included in station[e]ry shops, when the station[e]ry lorry is no longer stationary.

‘Altogether/All Together’ – As one word, ‘altogether’ means ‘completely, entirely or in total’. For example, ‘the house had six bedrooms altogether’. As two words, ‘all together’ means all in one place. You may like the fact your friends are all together in one place.

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