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How might you choose a homonym that is spelled correctly and communicates your meaning accurately?
- Consult a dictionary or thesaurus: If you experience a niggling feeling that you haven’t used the correct word, consult a dictionary or thesaurus.
- Make cautious use of your computer’s word processor: Correct errors that are indicated by the grammar and spell check function. However, keep in mind that a homonym that is spelled correctly may not have the correct meaning in the context of your paper.
- Ask someone else to read your paper for you: Another set of eyes looking at your paper will increase the chance of catching a homonym error.
- Make a deposit in your memory banks: One of the most effective ways to facilitate the correct use of homonyms is to store them in your memory.
- Read widely and often: The more frequently you see words spelled and used correctly in reliable text, the more likely you are to use them correctly in your own writing.
- Some of the most commonly-confused homonyms include:
- there, their, and they’re
- its and it’s
- your and you’re
- to, too, and two
- affect and effect
- accept and except
- complement and compliment