Homophone mistakes can be dangerous to professional credibility—and also really funny. I’m not referring to the all too common boo-boos like “it’s/its,” “you’re/your,” or “there/their.”
The phrase “pouring over the content” appeared in a popular blog by a noted and oft-quoted writer of marketing books. When someone pointed out the boo-boo, the writer retorted that only “scholars and style junkies” care about the distinction. That’s roughly the equivalent of my accountant telling me balancing the books is for economists and math junkies.
1. Without further adieu. This got the ball rolling for collecting comical sound-alikes.
2. Let us wet your appetite with a few favorite homophonic gaffes.
3. Poor writing reeks havoc on clear communication and distracts from the main point.
4. It’s a tell-tail sign that writers aren’t necessarily readers. Big mistake.
5. They should hand over the reigns, or at least step back from the keyboard.
6. This doesn’t phase some people who feel that proper writing style, grammar and spelling are optional.
7. It’s a waist of time to them, but good for giggles and groans for us.
8. They will fair well in business—and certainly in the blogosphere—as long as we accept poor writing.
9. In a physical year, we’ll see this word instead of “fiscal.” Yipes!
10. It doesn’t bare a resemblance to convey that we balance the books on a schedule, other than January through December.
11. These examples are taylor-made for confusion and comedy.
And now, for the mother of all funny homophones. Drum roll, please.
12. It’s a crap chute, what you’ll get these days for business writing.
It’s sort of like the “telephone” game, where participants whisper words to each other and, by the end of the game, have completely changed the words. The difference here is these misunderstandings are loud and online. Clarity in writing isn’t a game.
Which funny sound-alikes have you seen?
Kim Phillips is the founder of Lucid Marketing and author of the Lucid at Random blog. A version of this article originally appeared on 12 Most.