Homophone mistake

The other day, I re-read a published post of mine and I noticed a horrible mistake.


I had an immediate anxiety attack. I swear, this was the sort of mistake I never, ever make.

English is my second (third) language. My parents spoke Italian at home (still do), so I picked up on that language while speaking Swiss German in Switzerland during my childhood. When I was 11 we moved to Canada and that’s when I learned English (and French).

I was in early high school when I discovered that some of the locals around me misused many English words.

This astonished me.

For instance, it was beyond my comprehension that many people couldn’t choose the correct homophone in a written sentence.

Homophone: one of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation or spelling

Examples of homophones:

  • two, to, too
  • sun, son
  • tail, tale
  • write, right

So imagine my surprise when I noticed, near the bottom of my post I was re-reading, that I misspelled one of those homophone words.

I typed the wrong:

there / their / they’re

(well not the last one)


I have never made that mistake before. Instead of using their I typed there and then I HIT PUBLISH and IĀ  DIDN’T NOTICE IT until the NEXT DAY!


I wonder what made me re-read the thing in the first place…

Note: I am not confused about which word means what. I think I just typed too fast, possibly on two devices flipping back and forth, then hit publish.


Anyway, reason I’m yapping on about this is because I got this lovely comment from Joni on this exact topic. I think that’s why I recalled my mistake…

All I can say is, the universe works in mysterious ways. šŸ˜‰

19 thoughts on “Homophone mistake

  1. We all do it. And I bet no one even noticed. You know that idea that the brain sees what it expects to see in the context of what’s being presented. I bet we all read it as the correct word.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. HA! Well I’m happy to have inspired your post! But your writing always seems perfect to me and I had forgotten that English was not your first language (and I know you’re not supposed to start a sentence with but….or is it because?) My problem is that it has been so many decades since I learned the rules of grammar that I have forgotten them, so then I become dyslexic and drive myself crazy with which version is correct, especially when it comes to misplaced adjectives. We are always harder on ourselves then other people though. I learned/learnt? British English and spelling, so it’s neighbour, colour, flavour etc, but in my early blogging days a younger person said to me that I made spelling mistakes – and gave those as examples, so then I realized they must not teach that way in school anymore? The computer always flags these as spelling mistakes and I ignore them. Honestly, that was her only remark when I asked what she thought about my blog…..obviously a non-blogger would not realize how hard it can be to get those words down in the first place. PS. It must have been stressful to write pilot manuals……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. British and Canadian English is similar in terms of spelling (colour, behaviour) so when my American keyboard flags this I ignore it. šŸ™‚

      Blogging isn’t about pure grammatically correct text. It’s about readability (I think). I do appreciate good sentence structure, capitalization at the beginning, conversational language. Doesn’t have to be more than that. šŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not of the sort who doesn’t sweat the small stuff. I do. I agonize and fret and worry and dramatize… šŸ˜›

      Technical writing is all about precision. I once edited a pilot training manual… I was beyond terrified I would overlook something!! šŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It may also make a difference in one’s primary learning or processing mode. If auditory, one is “hearing” one’s own inner voice–and so it’s easy to miss the visual homophone in the print version. It may be different if one is more visual–not having to “translate” out of the inner voice to print.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. This makes sense. Especially from the perspective of learning a new language at an older age where print (learning grammar rules) is part of it. If you grow up multilingual since infancy you hear the languages constantly and it becomes second nature. I wonder at what point it’s easier to differentiate in spelling/grammar…

      I always thought, and still do, that English is a tricky language to learn. So many rules that have so many exceptions… šŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that it is easier to make mistakes in one’s primary language, especially homophones. It seems that the inner writing voice dictates to the uneducated fingers (they just don’t know the difference!) Perhaps the good news is that, in making this “native speaker’s” error, you have graduated from second language to primary language.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a good way of looking at it.

      My kids primary language is English. When they entered grade 4 they went into French Immersion. So now they are bi-lingual, but they don’t have opportunity to speak French outside of school. Which basically means they are native English speaking people in the true sense. Which is also why I am not surprised when they misuse there and their, for instance…

      Interesting, isn’t it. šŸ™‚


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