Mind Your Homonyms

I’m definitely getting old because I keep getting irritated with the poor use of the English language on social media, at work – everywhere really. I’m not talking about grammar, that’s a bit more difficult – granted. I am referring to the use of the wrong word. For example:

There vs their
We are vs were
Wear vs were or we’re
Two vs to or too
Here vs hear
Right vs write
Counsel vs Council (this one was new to me)

I could go on and on. It’s really really getting on my nerves. Lets get this right. My issue isn’t with people for whom English is not a first language, that would be unfair. Nor am I referring to a slip of the finger. I’m referring to educated adults for whom English IS their first language. People who hold professional jobs or run businesses and don’t know the right word to use. Sadly, their poor command of the English language is usually splayed across the pages of a C.V or within an email to colleagues or superiors. These people had a seemingly good education but when they write – oh my days! (as my niece would say)

Really I write on behalf of all those who find it challenging to decipher the message being conveyed. It is sooooooooo confusing and a little bit of care makes a huge difference, at least to the reader. I was having a moan with one of my friends about this and I told her a story that was funny and quite bizarre for me but drives the point home. I shall relay it to you all

It was a warm cool day in Lagos and my mum had just got me a summer job right after my final exams, in the interim period between receiving my results and the start of university. It was a job with one of the first suppliers of computer hardware in Lagos. The operating system was DOS and I was getting to grips with the function keys and touch typing. One day, a thirty-something-year-old gentleman who worked at another branch walks in and strikes up a conversation with my twenty-something-year-old colleague. I’m sitting across from them and he eventually notices me. He takes slow, lingering steps towards me – ok I exaggerate – he walks towards, introduces himself and makes small talk.

    Lothario : What is your name?
    Me: Tomi
    Lothario: How are you?
    Me: Fine thank you.
    Lothario: You seem like a nice girl, can I launch you?
    Me: I beg your pardon.
    Lothario: Can I launch you?
    I look at the other girl bemused
    Me: What does that mean?
    Lethario: Launch, launch. Take you out to lunch.
    Me: Of course not. (In my head I’m saying ewwww)
    Lothario: Why?
    Me: Because you are too old!
    Lothario laughs.

/End scene/

I think I’ve made my point!

* Check out an interesting list of homonyms

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5 thoughts on “Mind Your Homonyms

  1. Oh at this (‘junction’) juncture what can I say! That’s another common one… It’s a good thing you’re writing about this, I think there’s no excuse really…As you’ve rightly pointed out, if you have any business with the language you might as well get it right.

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