Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

My Photo
Location: Texas, United States

Monday, March 20, 2006

While We're On The Subject...

More Of My Pet Peeves

Let's talk about homophones. No, not the cellular gadgets with a penchant for antiques and Judy Garland albums. These are words that sound alike, but are spelled differently. Homonyms sound alike, but are spelled the same. Or so I recall, anyway.

I used to rarely ever see spelling or grammar mistakes in the newspaper. Now, I catch them fairly frequently. Most involve homophones, and the fact that today's crop of reporters and editors couldn't spell their way out of a paper bag.

Here's some of the worst offenders. I've included a definition, and for extra credit, even used them in a sentence!

sheer vs shear

Sheer refer to something with properties of abundance. The sheer size of something, or the sheer mass of an object, perhaps the sheer bravado of an individual. It can also refer to altering direction, to sheer away from something. It can refer to the thinness and transparency of an object.

Shear refers to the act of cutting. You can shear a sheep, or subject something to shearing stress.

The sheep sheered away from the hippie trying to shear its wool, causing the hippie to fall headlong into the pile of manure. The shepherd laughed at the sheer stupidity of the hippie, and made plans to wrap the hippie in sheer gauze right before he dropped him down the old abandoned well.

grisly vs grizzly vs gristly

Grisly = bloody
Grizzly = bear
Gristly = full of tendons and/or cartilage

It was a grisly scene as the grizzly bear snacked upon the misguided hippie that thought he could live among the bears as an equal. The bears might have eaten more of the hippie, but years of heroin addiction had rendered his carcass tough and gristly.

shoot vs chute

Shoot is used to describe firing a weapon, or a means or process of moving something rapidly. You can shoot a gun, shoot someone a letter, shoot across the street. Shoot is also used as a substitution for saying "shit". A chute is a ramp, pipe, or tube used to move objects.

After dropping the hippie down the chute, we tried to shoot him with tranquilizer darts before he landed in the pit of rabid weasels. After all, we didn't want our lovely weasels damaged by the hippie's tortured flailings.

affect vs effect

Affect is to have influence on something. Effect is the result of an influence.

The stench of the hippie's patchouli oil had a strong effect on my psyche. It affected my ability to tell right from wrong, and the effect was that I fed the hippie to the mutant badgers. See, that was wrong! I should have fed him to the radioactive muskrats.

hoard vs horde vs whored

A hoard is a stash, a collection, a treasure pile. A horde is a large unruly group. Whored is what politicians have done to gather votes.

The horde of hippies were eager to pounce upon the hoard of Guatemalan serapes and hammocks, not knowing that the importers have whored out the workers, forcing them to sell their cultural identity in return for less money than the hippies spent on soap & grooming products.

duel vs dual

A duel is a fight between two individuals, usually under a strict code of conduct. Dual refers to two items, a pair.

I was eager to duel with the dual VW vanloads of hippies, but they whined like girls and refused to open the dual side doors so I could draw my dual sixguns and scatter their shit to the wind.

phase vs faze

Phase refers to a period of time, or a period of growth. To faze someone is to upset them, to disconcert or embarrass them.

When I was in my long-haired lookin'-like-Jesus phase, I liked smoking dope and chasing hippie chix. I was never fazed by their commie Marxist rhetoric, however, and remained a gun-toting redneck under all that hair.

gauge vs gage

'Gauge' is a unit of measurement, be it shotgun bores, railroad tracks or wire thickness. 'Gage' can refer to varieties of the plum fruit, or also something, such as a glove, that is offered or thrown down as a pledge or challenge to fight.
Some people would have you believe gage is an acceptable variant for gauge, but they're invariably the same lighten-the-standards, Ebonics-promoting assholes that have been screwing with our educational system for years.

After pelting the hippies with greengage plums, I pulled out my 12 gauge shotgun, conveniently loaded with rocksalt rounds, and commenced to drive them out of the park via judicious applications of salt crystals to their bulbous posteriors.

reek vs wreak

Reek is a strong objectionable odor. Wreak means to inflict, or bring about something, usually negative in consequence.

The reek of the unwashed hippies wreaked havoc on my upset stomach, so I doused them all in undiluted Lysol before I ordered my minions to scrub them raw with Scotchbrite grill scrubbers.

udder vs utter

An udder is that big dangly thing on a cow or goat that milk comes out of. Utter means complete, absolute, or entire.

The utter stupidity of the hippies attempting to make a milkshake via poking a cow's udder with vibrators rendered me speechless. The cow seemed to enjoy it, however.

(Incidentally, I used to always write snarky sentences like these in school. It used to annoy my teachers to no end, but they couldn't say squat as long as I got everything correct!)