Homophones!

Let’s talk about homophones!

Because we use only the most sophisticated and credible sources for our research here at Cooking with Copy, we turned to Wikipedia to confirm our definition of the word “homophone.” A homophone is one of the words in a set of words that sound the same but have different definitions. Sometimes the words in the set are spelled the same way, too, but that’s a can of worms we’ll open some other time. Today, we’ll focus on homophones that sound the same but have different spellings.

Now. You’d think that, even though the words sound the same, the different spellings and, umm, entirely unique definitions would keep people from confusing the members of a set of homophones. Not the case. Homophones are so frequently used in contexts in which they don’t belong that it makes our heads spin. We’ve picked a couple of commonly messed-up homophones about which to educate y’all.

They’re/their/there
You knew this set would make the list and you knew it’d be first. Arguably the most mixed-up homophones ever, these words are no strangers to misuse. Let’s try to break this down for those who may still be convinced that “their taking there food over they’re,” or something like that is acceptable…it’s not.
They’re = They are. It is a contraction that represents a subject and a verb. If you want to use “they’re” in a sentence, make sure you can replace it with “they are;” and if you’re planning on replacing “they are” in a sentence, make sure to use “they’re.” It’s the only way. Don’t mess this up.
There = actually a bit confusing, because there can be a pronoun, a noun, an adjective, an interjection…but, more often than not, it’s an adverb! So think of it that way. It modifies a verb. Where are you going? You’re going over there. Easy.
Their = adjective, always. It modifies a noun and describes whose possession something is in. Whose socks are these? Their socks!
See how simple this can be?! Yay! Let’s move on.

Two/too/to
Here’s another really commonly mixed-up set of homophones.
Two = the number. We don’t really see how this can be confused with too or to. These two are not numbers.
Too = “as well.” Example: “I am in love with Ryan Gosling, too!” = “I am in love with Ryan Gosling, as well!” Too can also be used to describe a state beyond what is normal or acceptable…for instance: “I am too hungry to stop at just one cheeseburger.”
To = preposition, often used to describe where something/one is going.

Peak/peek
This one may seem very random, but we were only inspired to include it by Caro’s recent run-ins with peak/peek mess-ups. In just the last week, she has found, in sources varying from commercial ads to blog posts, three instances of peak being used where peek was the right word! Sheesh! Unacceptable, peeps. We can help you figure out which is right.
Peak = a high point, like the top of a mountain.
Peek = an often-sneaky look.
So, if you take a look at something, you are taking a peek at it. You are not taking a peak. Unless you are stealing a mountain or something. But, really, we’re guessing (and hoping…?) that’s not the case. So just remember that peek = look. (This is easy to remember because they’re both double-vowel words! Hooray for memory tricks.)

Capital/capitol
Lauren continues to see these two misused and confused. What she didn’t know until tonight, though, was that the two are confusing to her as well. Here’s what she found after several scans of the Webster.com definitions, as well as a few Google searches.
Capital = This has many meanings, but the one we’re talking about here is: a city serving as a seat of government but NOT the BUILDING in which the government sits, that brings us to…
Capitol = the building in which a legislative body meets. Here’s where it gets tricky though. When capitalized into Capitol, the word ONLY means the capital building of the United States, in Washington, D.C., not just any capitol building in any state. If we were talking about the capitol building in Madison, WI, keep capitol lowercase.

And we’re signing off. Until next week, toodles!

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