1

I am not natively an English speaker, though it is a taught language from childhood and I have been using the language long enough. I have a problem though with using homophones instead of the actual words intended when writing. I have since noted that I do this usually when I am typing/writing and thinking something else at that moment (generally multitasking).

Examples know-no knew-new

Since I am only ever going to be exposed to more of adulthood, which dictates that I do have many of this multitasking, does anyone suffer from this, and how can I deal with this.

  • 3
    I don't think it has anything to do with you not being a native English speaker. I make such typos all the time when I'm distracted and the words don't always need to sound the same. For example, requestion sometimes happens when I mean to type requesting. The easiest solution is to either focus on what you're doing, or to wait to send what you've written until you've proof-read it when you can focus. – ColleenV Jun 28 '16 at 22:11
  • What @ColleenV said. Real language is spoken - the ability to both know and apply recognized (but often, bordering on arbitrary) rules of orthography / spelling is only peripherally related to language skills. But there's definitely a difference between not being able to spell the word you do mean, and absent-mindedly typing a homonym. Because the latter won't be picked up by a simple spellchecker, but will often be far more disruptive to many readers, it ends up looking worse than is justified. I read almost nothing about a person's language skills from homophonous "typos". – FumbleFingers Jun 28 '16 at 23:23
  • (But I would of thought I'd be in good company if I facepalmed at this sentence! :) Though it's a moot point whether that of instead of have = 've is a "homophone" error. – FumbleFingers Jun 28 '16 at 23:25
  • I really think all of us do this from time to time, especially when we're in a hurry or tired. – tchrist Jun 29 '16 at 3:53
2

Different brains work in different ways, but perhaps explaining how I avoid it will work for you.

I would never make the know/no mistake because I know (hehe) the roots of the word. The 'kn' in 'know' is a sound that is absolutely everywhere in Indo-European languages. My prognosis is that you are agnostic of, or perhaps even ignorant of, and most certainly not cognisant to the fact that if you look at German (kennen), Greek (γνῶσις), Russian (знати - znati), Latin (cognosco), or Sunscrit (a), you can recognize this sound everywhere through its various cognates.

So that was silly, but the point is, you won't make those mistakes if you understand where the words come from. Good luck and have fun!

  • The German cognate is kennen. The "g" in gewußt is a perfective prefix. – Colin Fine Jun 28 '16 at 22:26
  • @ColinFine yeah I used the perfective because it more clearly illustrates my point, but I'm not a German speaker so I'll take your advice. – Isaiah Taylor Jun 28 '16 at 22:28
  • @ColinFine oh now I see what you're saying. You are correct. My bad. – Isaiah Taylor Jun 28 '16 at 22:30
1

These two links might help you:

The first uses Microsoft Word's index feature, and the second uses a macro, both to indicate instances of words from a list that you specify. You could find a list of common homophones and customize it to your personal mistakes.

I don't have any experience using either of these features, so you may need to do some more research (probably on the Stack Overflow community). However, these are some places to start that could provide you with a tool to help you check for homophones quickly.

  • Thank you. A tool to help you check words you might be mistaking for others is a good start! – Pilling Fine Jun 28 '16 at 22:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.