Saturday, July 7, 2012

Self-Editing: Words That Are Almost Right, But Not Quite

I've been doing a lot of self-editing, critiquing and contest judging. One thing that seems to trip up many writers is words that are almost right, but not quite. Some are homophones, words that sound the same, but have different spellings and/or meanings. Others are words often confused.

I use an edit checklist while self-editing, including a confused words list. Here are some from my lengthy list:

altar – religious table
alter – to change

bridal – relating to a wedding
bridle – for a horse

council – elected officials
counsel – give advice

fair – treated equally
fair – an event
fare – sum charged
fare – food
fear – frightened

incite – provoke
insight – understanding

rain – wet weather
reign – period of rule by king or queen
rein – for a horse

team – group of people
teem – a lot of falling rain

their – belonging to them
there – that place
they're – they are

weak – not strong
week – seven days

affect - to change
effect – result of change

farther – distance
further – figuratively

than – rather
then – time

loose – not fixed in place
lose – misplace
lose – be defeated

fiancé – male
fiancée – female

What words trip you up?


Pat McDermott said...

Good list, Dawn. Discreet/discrete, forbear/forebear, and dependent/dependant have made me stop and look them up. That's why we have dictionaries. And editors!

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Thanks for stopping by and sharing, Pat. I'll add these words to my list. I keep my dictionary and thesaurus close while writing, but also having a problem word list nearby is handy when editing.

Jacqueline Howett said...

Thanks for the reminders Dawn. Have a great weekend!

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Hi, Jacqueline, so glad you dropped by. You have a great weekend too, and stay cool!

Meredith said...

Thank you for this!

One of my pet peeves is when people confuse there/their/they're, or effect/affect.

The one that trips me up most? Lay vs Lie. I had to look it up and write the rules down in a Word doc I keep on my computer desktop for quick access.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

bear and bare
affect and effect (worst one for me)

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Hi, Meredith. Lie and lay make me crazy! :) Thanks for visiting and sharing.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Oh, Paisley, I'll add bear and bare to my list. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Josie said...

You've posted an excellent list. Then and than trip me up, sometimes, as well as towards and toward.