Sounds fa­mil­iar …

Gonna be a grate day

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES - BRENDA LOOPER As­sis­tant Edi­tor Brenda Looper is edi­tor of the Voices page. Read her blog at blooper0223. word­ Email her at blooper@arkansason­

It’s been hard lately to find much to laugh about, with tales of death and de­struc­tion shar­ing the stage with sex­ual mis­con­duct.

And yet, it’s pos­si­ble. Prob­a­bly a bit in bad taste at the mo­ment, but pos­si­ble.

What could it pos­si­bly be? Why, it’s talk that a U.S. Se­nate can­di­date from Alabama be­haved in a less than moral man­ner with min­ers.

Yes, min­ers. Be­cause they haven’t suf­fered enough, what with the in­juries and dis­ease risks that come with the pro­fes­sion, as well as the loss of jobs to the times and tech­nol­ogy. That’s just mean.

Se­ri­ously, sex­ual mis­con­duct in any sit­u­a­tion, re­gard­less of party, is not a laugh­ing mat­ter, but when ho­mo­phones en­ter the pic­ture, it’s dif­fi­cult for word nerds with a weird sense of hu­mor to hide a smirk. No, that doesn’t mean that we’re in­sen­si­tive to those women and men who have suf­fered through the years be­cause of sex­ual as­saults; it sim­ply means that we can find hu­mor even in hor­ri­ble sit­u­a­tions. Some­times that’s the key to main­tain­ing san­ity in a world such as we have today.

So yes, yet again I go to the ho­mo­phone well for some­thing hu­mor­ous—not humerus, the bone I shat­tered nearly nine years ago (and no, it wasn’t funny).

Ho­mo­phones, you’ll re­call, are words that are pro­nounced the same, but aren’t spelled the same or have the same def­i­ni­tions. They have the ten­dency of mak­ing you look like an idiot if you use the wrong one in, say, a tweet, busi­ness pre­sen­ta­tion, or news­pa­per ar­ti­cle. And let’s face it, some of us don’t need any help look­ing like a dummy.

Not like me when I was a kid wor­ried about armed go­ril­las in Cen­tral Amer­ica. The movie King Kong thus held a whole other level of fright for me.

Every­one’s fa­mil­iar with the they’re/there/their and to/too/two ho­mo­phones, and every­one will have made a mis­take us­ing them at least once. If you haven’t made those mis­takes … well, are you sure you’re hu­man?

For years as a copy edi­tor, I of­ten saw the same mis­takes over and over, whether it was on the day desk or the night desk (and still do, in­clud­ing in my own writ­ing). Per­haps it’s just force of habit, but when spell-check won’t save you, mis­takes like that are more likely to hap­pen since the re­spon­si­bil­ity for catch­ing them is on you. Here are a few that trip peo­ple up.

Waive and wave—If one waves ex­tra­di­tion, does ex­tra­di­tion wave back? The proper word to use when talk­ing about giv­ing some­thing up or re­frain­ing from some­thing is “waive.” The proper word for the mo­tion you make with your hand—whether roy­ally, like screw­ing in a light bulb, or like a wind­shield wiper—is “wave.” And if you gen­er­ally do the wind­shield wiper, re­mind me not to stand next to you.

Waist and waste—If some­one writes “what a waist,” I as­sume they’re talk­ing about one of those peo­ple do­ing waist train­ing with the odd corsets (my waist is to­tally un­trained … can’t do a thing with it), com­pletely dis­re­gard­ing the stress those peo­ple are putting on their in­ter­nal or­gans just for the sake of a fig­ure they could never nat­u­rally have. Per­son­ally, I think that’s a bit of a waste.

Manners and manors—Many peo­ple prob­a­bly have one or the other, while a few have both. Un­for­tu­nately, there are more than a few who have nei­ther. Their ma­mas didn’t raise them right, and they make far too lit­tle to own any­thing that could be considered a stately manor. Point­ing that out, though, is a bad idea. And bad manners.

Mores and morays—You’d think that peo­ple wouldn’t mix up shared so­cial cus­toms (mores) and eels (morays), but you’d be wrong. I’m not con­vinced those peo­ple should be al­lowed ac­cess to so­cial me­dia ac­counts. There’s only so much we can take.

Phase and faze—A phase is a pe­riod or stage, such as when I de­cided I hated the spelling of my nick­name (Bren) and in­sisted that every­one spell it “Brynne.” That didn’t last long. As a verb, it means to work some­thing in sys­tem­at­i­cally. Faze means to bother. Some peo­ple are an­noyed by my word col­umns, but that doesn’t faze me.

While it’s very easy to ap­pear un­e­d­u­cated in spo­ken com­mu­ni­ca­tion, it’s even easier in some re­spects in writ­ten com­mu­ni­ca­tion, where your spelling and other er­rors are out there for every­one to see. And in a pro­fes­sional con­text … oh, that’s bad.

Be­cause spell-check won’t catch ho­mo­phones (I’ve of­ten said there should be a con­tex­tual spell-check), it’s up to you to catch your mis­takes, which means you need to care about what you’re writ­ing. If you don’t, maybe you’re in the wrong pro­fes­sion if it hap­pens to be one where you write at all.

Some­one said the min­ing in­dus­try was pick­ing up, so maybe try there. Just be care­ful of those peo­ple who want to be in­de­cent with min­ers.

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