Words We Confuse that Spellcheckers Miss, Part E

7

 

It’s been a while since I last mentioned the spelling problem posed by homophones, but I didn’t forget about it. I’m working my way through the alphabet, clarifying the distinctions between words that sound identical, but are spelled differently. These words will not be caught by spellcheckers; you just have to learn them.

If you’ve missed my previous posts on this topic, here are the links, alphabetically:   A      C     D

eaves/eves

Eaves are the overhanging lower part of roofs. Eve is short for evening, and usually refers to the night before a holiday or event.

Dad hung strings of lights from the eaves on Christmas Eve.

elicit/illicit

Elicit is a verb meaning to draw out or evoke. Illicit is an adjective meaning illegal or morally prohibited.

Using torture to elicit information is illicit behavior.

ewe/you

I’d venture to guess that no English speaker has ever mistakenly written ewe when he meant the pronoun you, but I suppose someone might not realize that the word for female sheep was spelled ewe.

Did you see the ram and ewe with their lambs?

eye/I/aye

I is the first-person pronoun, of course. Eye is the body part, and aye means yes or yea.

When the time came to vote, I looked the chairman in the eye and said, “Aye!”

 

There are just a few E homophones, but too many F’s for me to easily combine them!

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About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian Wasko

Brian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.

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  1. Denise
    Denise03-08-2013

    “elusive” and “illusive”
    Ran across this one today in a Bible study: “Understanding the love of God can be illusive.” — Oops! I sure hope they meant elusive.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko03-08-2013

      Ooh, that’s a good one. Sorry I missed it.

      Even if they meant “elusive,” it’s a strange sentence, but I’m sure they did. 🙂

  2. Michelle
    Michelle05-04-2012

    How about “effect” and “affect”? They may not be official homophones, depending on the way they’re pronounced, but I often see them used incorrectly! AFFECT is used as a verb, and EFFECT is a noun. See what Grammar Girl says about it here: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/affect-versus-effect.aspx.

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