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Grammar Tips & Tidbits

 

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Homophone Potpourri Series

 

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 because of confusion between homophones, so this week's tip features a "potpourri" of homophones for your comparison.

The following definitions are excerpts from Dictionary.com. Example sentences are original content provided by Accu-Assist.
 

Morning vs. Mourning
Commonly confused phrase:
  Incorrect:  I heard the morning dove cooing outside the window.

Correct:     I heard the mourning dove cooing outside the window.
 
●   Mourning dove: A grayish-brown, swift-flying wild dove (Zenaidura macroura) of North America, noted for its mournful call. Also called turtledove.  (noun)
 
●   Morning: the first part or period of the day, extending from dawn, or from midnight, to noon. (noun)
  Example: She has already had four cups of coffee this morning.
 
●   Mourning: the act of a person who mourns; sorrowing or lamentation.  (noun)
  Example: The family is in mourning and requests privacy at this time.
 
Age vs. Aged
Commonly confused phrase:
  Incorrect:   A woman age 37 years died in the car accident.

Correct:      A woman aged 37 years died in the car accident.
 
Age: the length of time during which a being or thing has existed; length of life or existence to the time spoken of or referred to: trees of unknown age; His age is 20 years. (noun)
  Example:  The woman's age is 43.
 
●   Aged: of the age of: a man aged 40 years. (adj.)
   Example: A female aged 23 years has been missing for three days.
 
Advance vs. Advanced
Commonly confused phrase:
  Incorrect:   We require 30 days' advanced notice prior to cancellation.

Correct:      We require 30 days' advance notice prior to cancellation.
 
●   Advance: made or given ahead of time: an advance payment on a loan. (adj.)
  Example: Will you be giving us an advance copy of the article?
 
●   Advanced: ahead or far or further along in progress, complexity, knowledge, skill, etc.: an advanced class in Spanish; to take a course in advanced mathematics; Our plans are too advanced to make the change now.  (adj.)
  Example:  I'll be taking an advanced course in English next semester.
 

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Sources:

1. Wikipedia contributors. "Homophone." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophone (accessed March 7, 2008).

2. Dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/ (accessed March 7, 2008).