Whoops! Been too long since the last go-round; a combination of political stuff, songwriting, memoirs work . . . and even some actual editing.

All I have today is a continuation of the “homophone” patrol. Some of these (actually, all of them) you really should already know, but having seen each of them misused at least once in the past fortnight, I figure that forewarned is forearmed, or some such . . . .

  1. pairs vs. pears: The first is a description of groups of two of something, as in “pairs of socks.” The other one is about fruit (varieties include Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou, etc.).
  2. bare vs. bear: The first is about skimpiness, mere adequacy, as in “bare necessities” (or “barenaked”); The second deals with withstanding something, as in “bearing up under hardship” (it can also refer to the woodland creature whose Latin name is Ursus, the one who “does it in the woods”).
  3. brake vs. break: The first is the thing beside the gas-pedal on the floor of an automobile, or on the handlebars of a bicycle, used in either case to slow or stop the vehicle in question. The second involves fractured bones, or fractured time, as the case may be.
  4. discrete vs. discreet: The first is about separation, of moments in time, sections within a mechanism or steps in a procedure. The second is derived from the word “discretion” and has to do with being able to keep a secret.
  5. faze vs. phase: The first is a condition of deterrence or the lack thereof, as in “The mountain ahead of him did not faze the climber in the least.” The second concerns staging, whereby the “first phase” of an operation might be the planning thereof. (The confusion may be blamed on Gene Roddenberry, whose “phasers on stun” in Star Trek is often misinterpreted; the nature of those things, at full power, was to literally “phase” someone into a different state of being.)
  6. lightning vs. lightening (I see this way too often): The first is the term for those flashing bolts that come down from clouds (or up from the ground, in the case of “chain lightning”); the second is a term for making something lighter, as in “lightening the load.” (The confusion here may stem from the different definitions of the word “light” which can be about illumination or weight, depending on the context.)

That’s all I have today, will try to think on something more challenging for the next time. As always I can use your suggestions . . . .

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