Word Choice – Similar Sounding Words

The world can be an amusing place when you think as you read.

The headline of a community newspaper recently stated: “Two criminals are on the lamb!” Interesting. It leads one to question the wisdom of the escapees. Wouldn’t it have been easier to use a car or to just run? And “the sheep.” Was there a special sheep always parked outside the penitentiary waiting to assist escaping prisoners. By the way, how many criminals can a sheep carry?

The correct phrase is “on the lam,” meaning to flee from the police.

How about restaurants that advertise complimentary wines with their entrees? Complimentary means it’s free. Complementary means the wine will go well with your selected dinner.

Have you ever read a book with a forward (a movement to the front) instead of a foreword (introductory remarks at the front of a book)?

English contains a number of similar sounding words with different meanings (homophones). Your spell-check cannot catch many of these as they are valid words. It is, therefore, important that you proofread your work so you can protect your professional image.

Do you have an example of the misuse of the English language that makes you chuckle? We would love to hear from you and to publish your observations in a future BizWritingTip.