|Geyser -- Not to be|
confused with a blokey
The phrase ‘false friends’ usually applies to words from different languages which sound similar (we’re going global, after all) for instance:
French ‘magasin’ sounds like magazine... but means shop.
German ‘bekommen’ sounds like become... but means get.
See the previous Proofreading Tips article on False Friends.
Here are another twenty UK English false friends, heterographs and homophones, check for these when you’re proofreading:
Alternately / alternatively
Switching between two things / doing something different
Biannual / biennial
Occurring twice a year / occurring every two years
Discreet / discrete
Careful and prudent / separate and distinct
To enclose, to surround / paper enclosure to surround a letter
Fictional / fictitious
Associated with creative writing / associated with dishonesty
Flounder / founder
To struggle / to sink (verbs)
A fish / a person who starts something (nouns)
The verbs can be the cause of confusion, rarely the nouns.
Grisly / grizzly
Repellent, gruesome / big brown bear
Geezer / geyser
Blokey old bloke / steamy hot spring
Hummus / humus
Beige chickpea matter, nourishing to humans / brown organic matter, nourishing to plants
Hoard / horde
An accumulated store of stuff (noun) or accumulating that stuff (verb) / a crowd or mob
Impracticable / impractical
Impossible to carry out / unrealistic, not sensible
Intense / intensive
Emotions are intense / actions are intensive
Loath / loathe
Reluctant (adjective) / intense dislike (verb)
Luxuriant / luxurious
Characterised by abundant growth / characterised by wealth or comfort
Parameter / perimeter
A limit / an outline
Raise / raze
Lift, heighten / destroy, demolish
Regretful / regrettable
Full of regret / deserving regret
Silicon / silicone
Abundant element used in semiconductor technology / synthetic polymer used in plastic surgery
Torpid / torrid
Dull, apathetic / scorched, passionate
Tortuous / torturous
Complicated, full of twists and turns / involving or causing torture
Catriona Tippin aka @ProofReadingTip will be back next month with more proofreading tips.
To see previous tips, click on this proofreading link.
Catriona Tippin has been a member of SCBWI since 2006 and helps organise venues for SCBWI North East. Details of her writing and illustrating here. She proofreads study guides, house magazines and publicity material for two national educational charities, in addition to working on a variety of proofreads and copyedits for the growing self-published world. Her monthly column is intended to give you food for thought, remembering “Any correction of the speech or writing of others will contain at least one grammatical, spelling or typographical error” (McKean’s Law, named after its inventor Erin McKean, editor of the Oxford American Dictionary).