Words We Confuse that Spellcheckers Miss, Part E

10

 

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 WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

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  4. 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. :)

  5. 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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