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Grammar Tips & Tidbits


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Homophone Potpourri: Part I

The English language brings with it a never-ending list of homophones, or words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings.¹ Many spelling errors occur due to confusion between homophones, so this week's tip features a "potpourri" of homophones for your comparison.

The definitions that follow are excerpts from Wiktionary.org. Example sentences are original content provided by Accu-Assist.

Stationary vs. Stationery:

  Stationary: not moving. (adjective)

    Example: The bird was completely stationary, so we assumed
    it was dead.

  Stationery: writing materials and office supplies. (noun)

    Example: She ordered her business stationery from the local
    print shop.

Compliment vs. Complement:

  Compliment: an expression of praise, congratulation
    or encouragement. (noun)

    Example: I was thrilled by her compliment about the quality
    of my work.

  Complement: to provide what the partner lacks and lack what the
    partner provides. (verb)

    Example: Our services complement each other, so we make
    a great team.

Pour vs. Pore:

  Pour: to cause to flow in a stream, as a liquid or anything flowing
    like a liquid, either out of a vessel or into it.  (verb)

    Example: Let me pour the coffee into your thermos before you go.

  Pore: to study meticulously; to go over again and again. (verb)

    Example: He will pore over those textbooks until he is prepared
    for the exam.

Did any of these homophones take you by surprise?
I'd love to hear about it! Just email me to let me know which ones were new to you.

Remember, spell-checker won't catch these words if they're used incorrectly, so be sure to add the Grammar Tips & Tidbits Archive to your bookmarks or favorites folder for future reference.

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1. Wikipedia contributors. "Homophone." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophone, accessed March 7, 2007.

2. Wiktionary contributors. Wikipedia, The Free Dictionary.
         http://www.wiktionary.org/, accessed March 7, 2007.