Homonyms are words that sound alike yet have different meanings. Now, before you decide that organizing your sock drawer would be a better use of your time, hear me out please.
Consider this: you find yourself about to make a trip to the grocery store when you realize that it is almost time for your family to return home. You write a short note and tack it to the fridge with a handy magnet. What do you write? How about: Gone shopping. Fridge bear. Be back soon.
There! That should do it, you think. But consider this. Is there really a bear (big shaggy animal) taking the place of the fridge in your kitchen? Or did you mean that the fridge is bare (empty)? See what I mean?
Now, as someone who writes and reads a lot, I make it a point to get my homonyms straight. If I didn’t I would not expect anything I write to be published. What’s worse, is that I see many self-published books using the incorrect word. One that easily comes to mind is using the word “wave” for “waive”. A “wave” (Verb: Move one’s hand to and fro in greeting or as a signal OR Noun: a long body of water curling into an arched form and breaking on the shore); whereas “waive” (Refrain from doing something) means something altogether different.
Sadly, we seem to have an entire generation or two who were not taught the correct usage of their words. In their own minds what they are saying is what they are writing. They don’t know they are making an error. I bring this back to the education that young folks are given. They are not being taught correctly.
I learned last year that phonics is no longer taught at the lower level grades in many schools. This is quite sad. It seems that children are being taught what they need to pass the exams and tests that will bring them to the next grade or class. In my day job I often work with college graduates who also seem to have a deficiency in their English grammar. So, with your indulgence dear readers, I will post here from time to time some sound-alike words (homonyms) and their spelling and definition. While I don’t expect anyone to take these examples to heart, it will make me feel infinitely better for having done so!