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Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Dear Word Guru,

What is it called when you incorrectly use a word that sounds like another word, but you use it incorrectly. Example - I could here (s/b hear) you from the other room.

I know there is a word for it but I can't remember. Dear Guru, please clear this up for me.

Signed, Forgetful in North Carolina

Dear Forget-me-not,

Eye believe the whirred your looking four is homophone. The reason ewe may knot half bin able two remember is that it has become politically incorrect to bee a homophone. Although the definition has nothing to do with orientation and everything too due with pronunciation, sum people git the wrong idea about homophones. Okay, isle stop using them starting . . . now.

The irony is, homophones are words that sound alike but are spelled differently, and, although the two words aren't technically homophones, the very thing that gets the homophone into trouble is its sonic similarity to homophobe. People don't like homophobes. People really don't like phobes of any kind. If your name is Pheobe, you have to watch out. Sure, you're fine in person, but when people see your name in an email, for just a second, they give your message that Mr. Drummond from Diff'rent Strokes "You're a bigot" look before realizing, "Oh, it's just Pheebs," and smiling again without the slightest shred of guilt for having prematurely judged you. Sucks to be you, Pheobe. Sucks to be you.

Anyway, they're homophones. And they aren't hurting anybody.


  1. You are wonderful Mr. Guru - thanks for clearing that up and I love the use of all the homos in your first paragraph!

    If you were in English class, would the teacher say this is a spelling error or a grammatical error?


    Mrs. NC

  2. The word in question is "here". It's on her post "Shoo Fly". This post was 1 or 2 sentences at the most and has generated over 20+ comments because of someone joking about another's spelling in their comment. It has grown into a spelling and grammatical debate. Everyone's having fun with it but that's what's going on.
    We're all nuts...

  3. This is confusing enough without your homo comments.

  4. Why, thank you. I now see the background . . . love those family feuds. Anyway, it's a grammar mistake, not a spelling mistake. That is, you're using the wrong word, not just spelling it wrong. Good question.

  5. My family members obviously have no lives.



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