In the past few hours I have run across a couple of wrong words that were used because they sound the same. These are called homonyms.
There are two kinds of homonyms:
1) Homophones – words that sound the same, but are spelled differently: bough and bow
2) Homographs – words that are spelled the same but have different meanings: the bear (the grizzly) and to bear (a burden)
The two mistakes I spied were homophones:
1) Miner washout – unless the miners lost in West Virginia were washed out of a well, the writer surely meant a minor washout, as opposed to a major washout.
2) Reigned in – unless royalty is involved, the writer surely meant reined in, as in pulling on the reins of a horse to control them.
Spell-check doesn’t catch homonym mistakes. Some of the most common are:
1) To, Too, Two
To and from; Also; One … Three
2) There, Their, They’re
Here and there; Belonging to them; They are
Keep an eye out for such homonyms – I sure do!