Homophone Horror

Pay attention.  I’m only going to say this once.  There are some sets of words that people use indiscriminately and it drives me crazy.  They are technically homophones; that is, they sound alike, but are spelled differently and have different meanings.  If you’re going to use these words in writing (more specifically on your website), please know the difference!

1. Rain – That wet stuff that falls from the sky.  Example: “The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.”

2. Rein, plural reins.  Horse tack, those leather straps attached to a bridle used to control the horse while riding.  “Rein in” is also used in popular culture to mean hold back or control.  Example:  “We must rein in government spending.”

3.  Reign.  Royal authority or the time during which one (as a monarch) reigns.  Example:  Queen Victoria’s reign was the longest in British history.”

As you can see, while they sound exactly the same, they mean completely different things and are spelled three different ways.  If I see someone write, “We grabbed the reigns” one more time, I think I will scream, so please, learn your usasge and save an old granny’s mind.


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