It was a lazy, hazy, snowy morning here at the Grammar Goddess abode; the dogs were sleeping, and I was lazily gazing out through the snow-covered windows to the snow-covered trees, when suddenly I realized it’s TUESDAY! Yikes. I hadn’t posted my Tuesday Tricksters yet!
So, while it’s still Tuesday, here are my traditional five pairs of words known as homophones, words that sound the same (or nearly so, anyway), but are spelled differently and mean something different. Spellcheck loves them, but many writers don’t — especially the ones who forget or don’t know how these words can trip them up.
Don’t be like those writers.
Mil (n.) a unit of length, equal to one thousandth (0.001) of an inch (0.0254 millimeter), used in measuring the diameter of wire, the thickness of coatings or films, etc.; milliliter, or cubic centimeter
Mill (n.): a building with machinery for grinding grain into flour or meal, or for manufacturing or processing something; the machine for grinding grain; (v.): to grind, pulverize, or break down into smaller particles in a mill; to wander around aimlessly
Mince (v.): to chop or cut up into very fine pieces; to moderate, restrain, or euphemize (words) for the sake of politeness and decorum: Don’t mince words: say what you mean; (n.): finely chopped food, especially mincemeat
Mints (n.): plural of mint
Mind (n.): the part of someone that thinks, feels and remembers; (v.): to give attention to something or someone (to mind the kids)
Mined (v.): past tense of to mine (to dig a hole / to extract ore)
Miner (n.): someone whose work or business it is to extract ore or minerals from the earth
Minor (adj.): something smaller or less important (a minor issue); (n.): someone young who has not acquired all of their legal rights; a secondary educational focus during college; (v.): to pursue academic studies in a minor field
Minks (n.): plural of mink, any of various semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals in the Mustelinae subfamily, similar to weasels, with dark fur
Minx (n.): a flirtatious and bold young woman
Were any of these new to you? I hadn’t realized that mil is a real word.