What is a homonym? (plus examples)

Homonyms are two words that are spelled the same and/or sound the same but have two different meanings.

An example is “bat.” A bat is the hunk of wood used to hit baseballs, and it is also the name of the arguably adorable winged creature of the night. These two words are spelled the same and sound the same.

bat

An example of a word that is spelled differently but sounds the same is “son” and “sun.” “Son” means a person’s child, while “sun” means that gigantic orange thing in the sky.

Here are more examples of homonyms that are both spelled the same and sound the same:

  • address: to speak to / location
  • arm: a part of the body / a part of a company
  • band: a musical group / a ring
  • bark: the outer part of a tree / the sound a dog makes
  • bright: very smart / filled with light
  • current:  up to date / the flow of water
  • die: to stop living / a cube labeled with numbers one through six
  • duck: a type of bird / to lower oneself
  • express: something done quickly / to show your thoughts
  • fly: a type of insect / to soar through the air
  • kind: a type of something / caring
  • lie: to recline / to not tell the truth
  • pound: a unit of weight / to beat
  • right: the correct answer / left’s opposite
  • rock: a type of music / a stone
  • rose: to have gotten up / a type of flower
  • spring: one of the seasons / coiled metal
  • tire: to become fatigued / a part of a wheel
  • well: the opposite of sick / a source for water in the ground

 

Here are more examples of homonyms that sound the same but are spelled differently:

  • berry / bury: a type of fruit / to cover in something
  • brake / break: to stop / to injure a bone or to rest
  • cereal / serial: a breakfast food / to do something repeatedly
  • eye / I: a body part / the opposite of you
  • groan / grown: an unhappy sound / to have become big
  • hear / here: to experience sound / opposite of there
  • hi / high: a greeting / up above
  • him / hymn: opposite of her / a type of song
  • feat / feet: an accomplishment / a body part and unit of measurement
  • flower / flour: a type of plant / an ingredient in baking
  • flew / flu: to have traveled through the air / a type of sickness
  • knight / night: a medieval soldier / the opposite of day
  • know / no: to understand / the opposite of yes
  • meet / meat: to be introduced / animal flesh
  • one / won: the number before two / the opposite of lost
  • pail / pale: a type of container / the opposite of dark
  • pair / pear: a couple / a type of fruit
  • rap / wrap: a type of music / to cover something
  • see / sea: to look at something / a big body of water
  • weak / week: not strong / seven days in a row

 

Erin Servais is the founder of Dot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of editing, coaching, and social media packages.

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Is “Data” Singular or Plural?

 

Man with laptop. Word bubble says: Hey, girl. Let's check out some data together

Buckle up, folks. People have strong feelings about whether to treat “data” as a singular or plural noun. And we are going to talk all about it today.

Technically, “datum” is the singular version, and “data” is the plural version.

This means—technically—“data” takes a plural version of a verb.

Examples:

The data are correct.
The data show these numbers.
The data illustrate the findings.

But . . . these days, most people treat “data” as if it were singular. So they use a singular verb with it.

Examples:

The data is correct.
The data shows these numbers.
The data illustrates the findings.

 

 

This is where you have to make a decision. Are you going to be a stickler and fight for “data” as a plural, or are you going to buckle under peer pressure and treat it as singular?

You are entitled to your own thoughts about this. But guess what? Language does change. It evolves. For instance, we don’t use “decimate” to mean “to destroy by one tenth” anymore, right? Or what about “nice”? Once upon a time four centuries ago, it meant “foolish and ignorant.” And once upon a time seven centuries ago, “girl” meant a “small child,” whether they were female or male.

So if you want to treat “data” as a singular noun, go for it. It’s true that the times they are a-changing. And if you want to treat “data” as plural, go for it, too. You’re not incorrect, but know you may find people who think you are.

Erin Servais is a book editor, author coach, and founder of Dot and Dash LLC, an author-services company. She takes authors from the plotting and planning phase, all the way through editing and marketing. To learn more, check out her website: www.dotanddashllc.com. You can also email her at Erin@dotanddashllc.com.

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Imply vs. Infer

imply vs infer

It’s easy to understand why people get imply and infer confused. Their meanings are related and similar. In this post, I will explain what these two words mean and show you how you can remember the difference between the two.

imply: to suggest or express something in an indirect way

For example, if you are talking to your friend, and you notice their breath reeks of garlic and onions, you may pull out a tin of mints and say “Want one?” as a way of expressing to them indirectly that their breath stinks. In this case, you are implying they have smelly breath.

infer: to conclude, especially from an indirect suggestion

For example, if you just ate garlic and onions for lunch, and your friend asks you if you want a mint, you could infer from their indirect suggestion that you have smelly breath.

Memory aid
When you infer, you are taking in information to analyze in order to come to a conclusion.

So taking in information = infer since they both use in.

You can just remember that imply means the opposite.

With imply, you are putting out suggestions.

With infer, you are taking in information.

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Quiz:
Choose either imply or infer for the spaces below.

  1. Trixie yawned and yawned in order to _____ to her guests that it was late and she wanted them to leave.
  2. Trixie looked at her failing quiz grades and _____ed she needed to study really hard for the final.
  3. Trixie stopped answering Brad’s texts, trying to _____ that she didn’t want to talk to him anymore.
  4. Brad gave Trixie flowers and asked what she was doing Friday night, _____ing he wanted to go on a date with her.
  5. When her aunt asked whether she ever wanted kids, Trixie burst out laughing. Her aunt _____ed her answer was no.

1) imply; 2) inferred; 3) imply 4) implying; 5) inferred

Erin Servais is the founder of Dot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of book editing, author coaching, and social media packages.

Sign up for the Dot and Dash newsletter to get writing tips and tricks and exclusive deals.  

Follow Dot and Dash on social media.
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