Posted by Kami Melton
I intend for this to be the first of a handful of posts on common grammatical foibles intelligent people make that cause me to want to scream.
Grammar is important. It helps us communicate efficiently and precisely. It makes us sound smarter too! Let’s face it: nothing says “grammatical ignoramus” more splendidly than a triple (or quadruple!) negative with slang. (“I ain’t not never gonna do that no more.”)
I’m not the only one who is aggrieved by the necessity of reading a very long chapter in a grammar book that uses the very grammar I’m not yet supposed to know. For Pete’s sake, just tell me how to do something in words I already understand and allow me to get on my merry way!
So here is one chapter of the Quick-See Grammar Book by me—a homeschool* mom who would much rather be baking or building a treehouse with her daughter than sloughing through tedious manuals. However, over the past few years I’ve had to do a lot of studying. Rejoice! The legwork has been done for you! These posts are intended as a favor to all those who have better things to read (like Brian Melton’s Waverly Hall series). This is grammar at its easiest, so send your kids and students to this post before you frustrate the livin’ tar out of them!
First up for our perusal (drum roll, please): the humble homophone.
Simple Definition: A homophone is a word that sounds like another word but has a different meaning.
Here’s how to correctly use the most common ones out there:
|1||YourYour feet stink.||You’re (you + are)You’re a strange person.||YoreI was a child, way back in the days of yore.|
|2||TheirTheir pool is filled with alligators!||They’re (they + are)They’re going to call animal control.||ThereThere will be no pool party today.|
|3||BuyBuy me a drink, please.||ByeDon’t forget to tell Grandma, “Bye!”||ByThe beach is by the sea.|
|4||KnowDid you know we have alligators?||NoNo alligators live here.|
|5||PeacePeace, goodwill toward men.||PieceMay I have another piece of pie?||Piece (slang for “firearm”)Wave your piece around like an idiot and you’re liable to be arrested!|
|6||ToWe are going to the ball game.||TooDo you want to come too?OR
The tickets cost too much.
|TwoThe tickets cost more than two hundred dollars!|
|7||WhereWhere are you going?||Ware(s)I’m going to sell my wares.||WearI will wear my hat.|
|8||ThenI will kill the alligators, then I will go swimming.||ThanIt’s more relaxing to go swimming than to kill alligators.|
|9||WhetherWhether or not I go swimming depends on the alligator population.||WeatherIf the weather is warm, I like to go swimming.|
|10||HereGet over here now!||HearDo you hear that weird sound?|
Keep an eye out for these in your writing. Most people will use them incorrectly one time or another in the heat of composition–which is why careful editing is a must.
*I refuse to write “home school.” The word “homeschool” is common enough now for it to graduate to being an official compound word (like backpack and skyscraper).
**For those grammar ninjas out there, I acknowledge that these homophones are only the tip of the iceberg, and that the subject of homophones has only been slightly touched upon. Please don’t come after me. You will rue the day (or night) you do. I’ve hired Chuck Norris–it just so happens he likes my baking, and we were able to work out a barter.