• Heather Wenonah Ellis

What Are Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs?



Hello writers and authors,


Welcome Back to Clever Writer By Heather!

Where we encourage you to DREAM big, CREATE stories that INSPIRE others!


Today we will be continuing our Grammar and Punctuation series on what are homonyms, homophones, and homographs.


In my previous blogs, we talked about:

· Where to place the period when using quotation marks and abbreviations.


· Then we discussed where to begin our next sentence after the period, whether it was one space or two.


· And we looked at the history behind that question.


· We also looked at how to use brackets in our writing, both rounded and squared.


· And we looked at where to place the punctuation around them.


If you want to take a closer look at these topics, I invite you to check out my YouTube channel, Clever Writer By Heather.


Go ahead and click the subscribe button. And hit that bell that way, you can stay updated with my latest videos and writing tips.


Okay, let's get into why we are here today.


Have you come across words that are spelled the same but have different meanings?


Or words that are spelled differently but sound the same?


We call these words homonyms, homophones, or homographs .


Many words in English sound or look alike and can cause a lot of confusion for us in the English language, especially if you are writing a story.


Sometimes these troublemakers can give us a headache if we don't understand how to use them in the written language, in our case English.


Let's see if we can demystify the meanings between the three categories for you today.


Before we get into our teaching today, let's grab some writing inspiration from American Poet, novelist, and short-story writer Sylvia Plath.


She said,


"And by the way, Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." ~ Sylvia Plath

Self-doubt is a nuisance. It breeds nothing but trouble.


I say kick it in the pants and get on with writing!


That's what we're here for, right?


We are here because we want to be writers.


Some of you may enjoy writing poems or write in your journals.


Some of you may just want to improve your writing in academia, and that's great.


And some of you may want to go on to have successful writing careers. And if that's you, let me tell you this.


No one is going to do it for you. You have to get up and go after your dream!


Don't let the state of affairs in your community detour you from writing. Instead, why not write about it.


You can write it like a news article or a blog. You can even get creative here and pen a story with characters and scenery emulating the neighborhoods around you.


The point is, there is always something to write about. Just look around. Use your imagination to improvise your storytelling. And have fun with it!


Okay, it's time to get into our teaching today on what are homonyms, homophones, and homographs.


If you want to follow along with the explainer video, click here.


Okay, let's begin with our topic question:


What are homonyms, homophones, and homographs?


Aren't they all the same thing?


Many words in English sound or look alike, right? It sounds confusing, I know.


Don't worry. We will straighten out all this confusion in the next few minutes.


Just relax and enjoy the teaching.


We will begin by breaking down what a homonym

/’hä-mə-ˌnim/ is.


First, we will look at what a homonym is not. Let's look at the following example.


"Just waiting for the bus cause my car got toad."



I think we can see where the error is. The word toad is misused in this sentence. This is cute and funny, but it's incorrect.


Homonyms seem confusing to understand because they could be referred to as three distinct classes of words.


Homonyms may be words with identical pronunciations but different spellings and meanings.


Or they may be words with both identical pronunciations and identical spellings but different meanings.


Finally, they may be words that are spelled alike but are different in pronunciation and meaning.


The definition of a homonym is a word that is both a homophone and a homograph.


Now you're probably wondering how do we distinguish between the two categories of words?


Well, let's take a look at what a homophone /ˈhä-mə-ˌfōn/ is and how to use them correctly in a sentence.


The word homophone comes from the Greek word homos meaning same, and phone meaning voice.


Homophones can be words that sound the same but have different meanings.


This is great, but how do we keep this organized in our heads so to not confuse this with what a homograph is?


Here's one way to help you.


We know that homo means same. And we know phone means voice.


A phone is an object we can bring to our ear…and what do we do with it?


Well, we listen to the sounds of a voice coming through from the other side of the phone.


Listen and sound are what we do with our ears, right?


Okay. Stay with me here..


Homo (same)….Phone(sound)


Same sound---words that sound the same. They can be spelled differently.


The message to focus on here is words that sound the same are what we call homophones.


For example:

hear (listening to something)

here (in, at, or to this place or position)


These words are spelled differently but sound the same.


Let's take these words and put them in a sentence.


"I hear what you're saying, but she is not here yet."


Notice the word hear it indicates listening to something. And here, this part of the sentence suggests "she" is not in the same place as the person listening to something.


All right, let's take a look at some of the most common homophones that can seem a little tricky for writers to differentiate.


Theirs/there's


theirs (belonging to or associated with people)

there's (a contraction of there is)


to/too/two


to (motion or direction)

too (as well or in addition)

two (number 2)


ad/add


ad (advertisement)

add (increase)


Okay, so what is a homograph /ˈhä-mə-ˌgraf/?


The word homograph comes from the Greek word homos meaning same and graph meaning write.


So, homographs are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings.


Here's one way you can look at it.


Okay, we know homo means the same.


Now when we look at the word graph, what does this remind you of? Well, I think of a chart.


So if we think of a graph as a chart or a visual, what do we do with it? Well, we don't listen to it, right?


We look at it with our eyes. Now focus on the word look.


Home (same) Graph (look).


Homographs are words that have the same look.


In other words, they are spelled the same. They could have different meanings.


The point to focus on here is homographs are spelled the same.


Let's see how to use homographs in a sentence.


We will use the example – Read.


Read pronounced (Red) means the past tense of reading.

Read pronounced (Reed) means present tense of reading.


Here is the sentence example.


She will read (reed) the book that her older sister read (red) last year.


The word read in the first part of the sentence suggests that "she" is reading now in the present tense.


Read in the latter part of the sentence tells us that her sister had already read the book last year, indicating the book's past tense.


All right, now that we distinguished the three categories of words for you, I hope this increases your grammar confidence in your writing journey.


Stick with this writing technique you're learning, and you will be the writer of your dreams.


I hope this blog helped clarified any confusion you had around homonyms.


Today we learned that homonyms are both homophones and homographs.


We also looked at how to correctly use each category of words in sentences to help make our writing clearer for the reader.


Comment below, If this video helped you in any way.


And remember the inspiration we gleaned from American Poet Sylia Plath.


She said,


"Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." ~Sylia Plath

There is always something to write about. Just look around.


Use your imagination to improvise your storytelling.


And have fun with it!


Until next time,

Happy writing!


If you'd like to do further reading on my other writing tips, I invite you to check out my website, The Clever Writer Portal.


Or visit my YouTube channel, Clever Writer By Heather.


Source:

Dimir, Sylvia Plath: Her Life and Importance to American Literature and History, https://owlcation.com/humanities/Sylvia-Plath-Her-Life-and-Importance-to-American-LIterature-and-History, February 19, 2018


Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com


IELTS, https://ielts.com.au/articles/homophones-homographs-homonyms/

https://www.dictionary.com


Online Etymology Dictionary, https://www.etymonline.com/


Jane Straus, Confusing Words and Homonyms, https://www.grammarbook.com/homonyms/confusing-words.asp

  • Heather Wenonah Ellis

How to Use Brackets in Our Writing


Hello writers and authors,


Welcome Back to Clever Writer By Heather!


Where we encourage you to DREAM big, CREATE stories that INSPIRE others!


Today we will be continuing our Grammar and Punctuation series on the use of brackets in our writing.


In my previous blogs, we talked about:

Where to place the period when using quotation marks.

And where to place the period when using abbreviations.


Then we discussed where to begin our next sentence after the period, whether it was one space or two.


And we looked at the history behind that question.


If you're looking to dive deeper into these topics, then I invite you to check out my YouTube channel, Clever Writer By Heather.


Go ahead and click the subscribe button. And hit that bell that way, you can stay updated with my latest videos and writing tips.


Okay, why do we even care about the use of punctuation and correct grammar in our writing?


We have access to so many different AI editing programs online.


We can write whatever we want and run our documents through the editing software of our choosing.


I do the same thing. There are great programs out there.


But to be a writer, you have to embrace the whole process.


And it helps if you enjoy the whole process of writing.


At the beginning of my desire to be a published author, I hated editing because it intimidated me.


I didn't think I was good at it. In my formative years as a teacher, my training helped me hone the skills I was lacking.


Also, listening to my editor's critiques helped me develop more as a writer to hone my craft.


I strongly advise you to listen to your editors. They are there to help you be the best writer you can be in the marketplace.


My favorite part of writing is creating the story. Not the editing…But I know that editing my stories is essential in my writing process.


I have learned to embrace that part of the writing process…and I encourage you to do the same.


As we learned earlier in my previous post, punctuation creates pauses and accentuation in the flow of conception of ideas we generate in our storytelling.


Our job as writers is to ensure that our readers understand the message we want to convey in our stories.


Because if we don't, we could lose our readership and set ourselves up for frustration.


In today's blog, we will look at brackets' usage in our writing, both rounded and square brackets.


And how to place the punctuation around these brackets.

Understanding how to use this writing technique will help improve your writing skills and hopefully increase your writing confidence.


Sometimes, the most challenging part of writing is getting started.


Whether you're penning your first story or opening a blank page after finishing your last project—don't let that discourage you from writing your story.


Just write!


To help combat those moments of the doubt, here's some inspiration from best-selling author Jodi Picoult. She said,


"You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page." ~Jodi Picoult

All right, let's dive into learning some of the rules around using brackets in our writing.


If you want to follow along with the explainer video then click here.


Okay, let's begin with our first question:


What are brackets, and what are they used for?


There are two forms of brackets we use in writing.


Curved brackets and squared.


( ) [ ]


The curved brackets are what we know as a parenthesis.


A parenthesis is a rounded punctuation mark used to set off a remark that is not directly related to the discussion's main topic.


(


In writing, we use this punctuation in pairs. We call this parentheses, which is the plural form of parenthesis.


( )


We use parentheses to enclose information that clarifies or is used as an aside, an afterthought.


The information inside the parentheses can help the writer to convey a little more clarity of thought to the story at hand.


Note to writers…


It is common for writers to use parentheses in first-person narration for witty thoughts or amusing asides.


You want to use this practice sparingly in fiction writing.


As an author, we don't want to appear as an intruder in the story.


We could unintentionally prevent the reader from getting lost in the fictional characters and their adventures.


So, use with caution.


It is more suitable to use this technique of using parentheses in non-fiction writing.


Okay, let's view some examples of proper usage of parentheses in writing and the placement of punctuation around them.


Example: I finally answered (after taking five minutes to think) that I thought he was wrong.


Notice the extra information inside the parentheses. You could write this as a complete sentence without the use of the information in the parentheses.


This technique shows that the character's viewpoint is aware that she's speaking to the reader, allowing them in on a little extra information.


In this case, it helped to show how much time had gone by in the sentence. It took five minutes to think before she could answer him.


Now, if the information in parentheses ends a sentence, the period goes after the parentheses.


Example: She gave him an honest answer (it's hopeless).


All right, do periods ever go inside parentheses?


Let's take a look at another example.


Example: Read this book. (You'll be amazed)


Hmmm…where should we place the period in this example?


Periods go inside parentheses only if an entire sentence is inside the parentheses.


Correct: Read this book. (You'll be amazed.)


What about using commas around parentheses. Where do you put them?


Good question, let's find out…


Commas are more likely to follow parentheses than precede them.


Let's look at the incorrect and correct usage of commas around parentheses.


Incorrect: When she got back to her dormitory, (it was already dark outside) she finished her homework.


Notice the comma after the word dormitory.


This would be considered incorrect placement of the comma around parentheses.

Now let's look at the correct way to write this sentence.


Correct: When she got back to her dormitory (it was already dark outside), she finished her homework.


See the placement of the comma?


Okay, on to our next question…

Squared brackets? What's that?


Brackets are interruptions. However, they are not to be confused with parentheses.


So what do we mean by 'interruptions'?


It doesn't necessarily mean to interrupt another person speaking.


Square brackets are used to enclose words added by a speaker to clarify the sentence's situation.


Example: He [the firefighter] can't prove they are responsible for burning the building down.


The firefighter let us know as readers who 'he' is in the subject part of the sentence, clarifying who was the one who couldn't prove 'they' burned the building down.


Squared brackets are also used to explain or comment on a quotation.


They can help clarify the meaning in a quote without changing any of the original words.


Like this…


She said, "If you make me wear that thing [the ugly hat] to class, I'm ditching."


We wouldn't know what the 'thing' was she didn't want to wear in this sentence.


The information inside the bracket gives us insight into the thing was-an ugly hat.


Here's another example…


"Lexie held hands with [her boyfriend] Cody."


Again, we get insight into who's hand Lexie was holding.


Okay, next question.


Where do you place the final punctuation if the brackets are at the end of a sentence?


Like this…


Destiny testified that it was the last time she saw them [the artifacts]


In this case, where would you put the period? Inside the bracket or outside?


If brackets are used at the end of a sentence, we will place the period outside.


Like this…


Destiny testified that it was the last time she saw them [the artifacts].


Note to writers…


Square brackets aren't something that fiction writers often use, but they are commonly used in non-fiction writing.


In keeping with these new writing techniques you learned today, you'll be on your way to boldly step out writing your story.


I hope this blog helped you gain more understanding of using brackets in your writing.


Today we looked at brackets' usage in our writing, both rounded and square brackets.


And how to place the punctuation around these brackets.


Comment below, If this blog helped you in any way.


And remember, hang on to what Jodi Picoult said

to help combat those moments of doubt,


"You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page." ~Jodi Picoult

It's an excellent place to start as a writer.


So get started writing!


Get past that blank page. Just jump in and write!


Until next time,

Happy writing!


If you'd like to do further reading on my other writing tips, I invite you to check out my website, The Clever Writer Portal.


Or visit my YouTube channel, Clever Writer By Heather.


Source:

Beth Hill, Dealing With Interruptions, https://theeditorsblog.net, September 2nd, 2015


Jane Straus, Parentheses and Brackets, https://www.grammarbook.com/


Grammarly, Parentheses and Brackets, https://www.grammarly.com/blog/parentheses-and-brackets/, January 14, 2021


Vocabulary.com, Parenthesis, https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/parenthesis


Katie Holdridge, Brackets and how to use them), https://www.writing-skills.com/brackets-and-how-to-use-them, October 12, 2009


Oxford Lexico, How to use parentheses and brackets ( ) [], https://www.lexico.com/grammar/parentheses-and-brackets





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Question...Do We Use One Space or Two After a Period Before Beginning a New Sentence?




Hello writers and authors,


Welcome Back to Clever Writer By Heather!

Where we encourage you to DREAM big, CREATE stories that INSPIRE others!


I'm Heather. I'm an author and a former teacher.


I'm the author of Colors of the World: Adventures.



And Guardian of the Dream Tree.




In my last blog, I shared a little about my educational background in working with English Language Learners and children with learning disabilities.


Grammar and punctuation were vital in teaching my students how to read and write in the English language.


As writers and authors, we need to understand the importance of using punctuation to help our readers clearly understand the message we want to convey in our stories.


Punctuation creates pauses and accentuation in the flow of conception of ideas we generate in our storytelling.


If you seek to become an author or are here to improve your writing skills, stick around.


I'll share more writing tips on the spaces after a period in your writing.


But first, I want to invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel Clever Writer By Heather. By clicking the subscribe button and the bell above, you can stay updated with my latest videos and writing tips.


In today's video, we will be looking at more punctuation rules to help you write clearly with confidence in your writing.


We will be looking at the question on the use of periods.

Specifically, we will be looking at:

Do we use one space or two after a period before beginning another sentence?


And we will look at the history behind that question.


As an emerging author or an accomplished author seasoned in publishing, every writer needs to understand punctuation basics and how they work to write clearly in the English language.


Now, if you feel like you are struggling to even get the first sentence of your story written down, don't be discouraged.


It has happened to many writers. We all start somewhere.


Here's a quote by Ernest Hemingway that I hope will bring you some inspiration in your writing.


He said,

"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." ~Ernest Hemingway

That is an excellent place to start as a writer. Start with what you know.


Okay, let's jump into some practical writing techniques in using periods in our writing.


If you'd like to see the explainer video that goes along with this teaching, then I suggest you click on the video above or click on "explainer video" so you can follow along.


Okay, the question of one space or two after a period has been in discussion for some time.


If you surveyed that question to a group of people, you'd find you'll get a mix of answers.


What do you think?


Do we use one space or two spaces after a period to begin another sentence?


And Why are we even asking this question?


Think about it, was there a time when we did use two spaces?


How about using one space after the period?


Let's look at the following information and see if we can get these questions answered for you.


There is a difference in opinion as to which technique is correct. We are told to use one space after, writing in APA Style.


APA style represents the American Psychological Association. This type of composing research papers is used in the area of academic studies.


The Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style are also in agreement with this rule.


The Chicago Manual of Style guides authors, editors, and publishers of books, periodicals, and journals.


The AP Stylebook is the prime reference for those in the news and public relations fields.


With the introduction of the typewriter in the late 19th century, typists used two spaces between sentences to mimic the style used by traditional typesetters.


While wide sentence spacing was phased out in the printing industry in the mid-20th century, the practice continued on typewriters and later on computers.


We used two spaces before because the typesetters used a monospace font.


This was a typeface with the same width for each character.


The m o n o s p a c e f o n t looks like this. See the extra spacing?


Now that we use computers to type out our stories, the font used in publishing is proportional.


The proportional font is any font whose different characters have different widths, and it looks like this.


Now, let's look at the following examples from my book Colors of the World: Adventures.


We will look at what is correct and incorrect regarding spaces after a period.


Incorrect: This pyre was tall, and angular.__It had a symbol on it like a triangle, with a dragon's eye dead center in it with talons encasing the angular shape.


Do you see the two spaces?


It is no longer necessary to follow a period with two spaces before beginning a new sentence.


Now, let's look at the correct format.


Correct: This pyre was tall and angular._It had a symbol on it like a triangle, with a dragon's eye dead center in it with talons encasing the angular shape.


Notice the single space?


Following these writing techniques you learned today will help you write like a seasoned writer— with confidence!


Well, I hope this blog helped you gain more confidence in your writing today.


We looked at:

Do we use one space or two spaces after a period to begin another sentence?


And where do we place the period when using parentheses in our writing?


Let me know if this blog helped to shed light on those questions for you today by commenting below.


And remember what Papa Hemingway said,

" All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. " ~Ernest Hemingway

It's an excellent place to start as a writer.


Start with what you know.


Until next time,

Happy writing!


If you'd like to do further reading on my other writing tips, I invite you to check out my website, The Clever Writer Portal.


Or visit my YouTube channel, Clever Writer By Heather.


Sources:

Renee Banzhaf, AP Stylebook vs. Chicago Manual of Style, https://grammar.yourdictionary.com,

Jane Straus, Punctuation rules-Periods, https://www.grammarbook.com/

The STANDS4 Network, monospace font, and proportional font, https://www.definitions.net


Bringhurst, Robert (2004). The Elements of Typographic Style (3.0 ed.). Washington and Vancouver: Hartley & Marks. 352 pages. ISBN 978-0-88179-206-5.


Felici, James (2003). The Complete Manual of Typography. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press. 384 pages. ISBN 978-0-321-12730-3.


Jury, David (2009). "What is Typography?" (PDF). Rotovision. pp. 28–87. Retrieved March 31 March 2010.


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