Grammar Police: A lesson in homophones

24 Apr

You might be scratching you head, saying, “But I thought the word was homonym, Alison?” So let’s start with that.

In the most technical sense, a homonym is a word that is spelled the same and pronounced the same, but has two different meanings. An example would be the word “left” – which can be a direction (turn left!) or a verb (he left). Wikipedia actually does an awesome job mapping out the differences between not only homophones and homonyms, but also some of lesser-known linguistic concepts – as visually represented here:

Wikipedia was nice enough to create this Venn Diagram to help...

So technical framework aside, here’s why I’m all fired up about homophones: one of Alan’s Facebook “friends” (and we’re using the word loosely here) has taken to posting status updates from the toilet. It’s bad enough that she posts from the toilet (might want to warn her real-life friends not to borrow her PDA), but to make matters worse, the subject matter is usually what’s IN the toilet. For example, yesterday she high-fived herself publicly for having three solid stools in three hours. TMI.

Anyway, the tie in to homophones is this: she is trying to coin a phrase (“posting from the throne”) and get popular support for it on urbandictionary (though there’s not evidence that she’s even submitted it yet). The thing is, every time she makes this reference, she says “posting from the thrown.”

Alan and I were discussing it last night and decided he should add a comment saying, “You can post from the throne or you can throw a post, but you can’t post from the thrown” to see if that would help her.

But that kind of reminds me of the saying, “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.” Which somehow ALSO strikes me as appropriate for this situation.

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2 Responses to “Grammar Police: A lesson in homophones”

  1. Alicia May 3, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    from the thrown what? I think the answer is obvious.

  2. popdialectic May 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Exactly. I keep thinking of monkeys throwing poop.

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