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From Larry Edwards: Most Common Errors Made by Writers #8 – Word Contortion: Homophones Can Trip (if not amuse) the Reader

Polishing Your Prose

 From the Editor’s Eye
The 10 Most Common Errors Made by Writers
(And How to Fix Them)

The third of a ten-part series.

#8. Word Contortion: Homophones Can Trip (if not amuse) the Reader

Some folks confuse similar-sounding words and use them in an inappropriate context. These are the homophones I encounter most often, in published works as well as unpolished drafts.

Yeah, yeah, I know more and more people are using voice recognition software to dictate their work and this type of error may creep in. Even more reason to remain alert—and not rely on spell check. It may be an innocent mistake, but readers are unlikely to see it that way.

homophones listThen vs. Than

This one surprised me, because I could not understand how these two words could be confused. That said, I have a sister who interchanges them, and I have seen it in manuscripts…

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