Recently I was asked to clarify what a homonym is exactly. I was taken aback, but just momentarily. I mean, come on, don’t all kids learn about these fun little word games in the second grade? And aren’t they drilled into our developing brains throughout our academic career? Yet, I couldn’t answer the question. WTF?
So here it is, plain and simple: homonyms are those words, like “caret” and “carrot,” or “rote” and “wrote,” that are pronounced the same, but are spelled differently, and that have different meanings. Simple enough, right? Well, not for everyone.
I know of someone who constantly confuses the use of: to, too, and two. I know, I know. What the hell, right? That’s what I thought too, yet this person uses the wrong word all the time, as in “I want to go two.” What I want to say is “Seriously, I don’t think that’s what you mean, but here, give your fabulous writing to me, and I will happily fix it for you.” Grrrrr.
Now, I will be the first person who will say that EVERY writer needs an editor, but to correct a mistake for word usage that we all learned in second grade, that’s where I draw the line. Because really, everyone should know the difference between to, too, and two and use such simple words correctly.
My advice to you: if you really are struggling with this whole homonym issue, get a book that lists them, or look them up online. You will find plenty of sites that will set you straight.