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Get Good at Grammar: Homographs, and Why They Piss Me Off

I’m not a word doctor, but I am really good at words and want to help you help your words. Just think of me as an unlicensed linguisticologist.

What the crap are homographs?

Technically, homographs are words that are spelled the same way, and may or may not be pronounced the same way, although the difference in pronunciation is often just a shift in the accented syllable.

  • [a-truh-byoot]: “Apparently, cannibals are pretty sensitive about how they’re portrayed in middle school essays; forgiveness isn’t one of the finer attributes of people who went to Yale to learn how to eat other people. ”
  • [moh-ped]: “‘Don’t worry,’ I told him. ‘You can always ride my one-wheel moped. She gets great mileage — highway: 2, street: 1.’”
  • [red]: “In fact, I recently read a book that had nothing but blank pages. I can’t wait for the movie to come out!”
  • [lurnd]: “For example, I just learned how to ‘eliminate’ a political opponent with little more than a flare gun and a barrel of gasoline — and make it look like an accident, no less!”
  • [soo-er]: “Maybe I can just feed them to the city’s sewer system by way of my toilet. You can get rid of outdated men’s fashion through indoor plumbing, right?”

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