March Guesting Madness!

After Pembroke so gallantly wrote me a blog post, I decided to try and make a month of it. I found some folks willing to take me on, so every Friday for the month of March I shall feature a guest blog.

We shall start with my super sexy friend and brilliant editor, Stephanie Gianopoulos. Here is what she has to say:

Bewhere the Homonym!
Or: Led Poisoning

            We all have to learn about it in school. It’s drilled into our heads over and over. Yet as soon as we can get away with it, we ignore it and behave as if we’d never heard of it in the first place.
            No, I’m not talking about the Golden Rule; that’s a rant for a pen much mightier than mine. I’m talking about the humble homonym.
            Remember homonyms? Words that sound the same but have different meanings? Does that wring a belle? If so, then your assistance could prove invaluable in the battle against rampant homonym abuse.
            Granted, I’m an editor. I spend all day looking at manuscripts that have been, until that point, unedited. So I should expect to see homonyms flung about willy-nilly, right? That’s my job; I shouldn’t be complaining about it! Right? (Rite?)
Wrong. I’m not complaining about the homonym confusion I see in rough manuscripts. My clients let me get in there and set things strait … er, straight … so that every little word gets to mean what it says. What disturbs me is that I’ve noticed an unfortunate trend in works that have already made it into print: with increasing frequency, homonyms are being treated as interchangeable. “Too” becomes “to” (and vice versa), “site” becomes “sight,” and “led” becomes “lead.”
Let’s focus on that last one, shall wee … Ahem … we? The inspiration for this whole rant was, in fact, my having spotted a number of instances of “lead” standing in for “led.” I ran across so many of these cases of led poisoning that I began to wonder if the powers that be had changed the rules of the English language and failed to notify me. (How rued.) But assuming that that isn’t the case, why would anyone think that a metal was the linguistic equivalent of the past tense of that thing that leaders do? Because they sound the same?
OK, maybe it’s easier to just grasp at whatever spelling leaps to mind with the most dexterity. Maybe we shouldn’t take that extra moment to consider whether the words we choose actually say what we intend to communicate. After all, people will figure out what you mean, won’t they? Does it really make a difference to anyone who’s not an anal-retentive editor-type freak?
Maybe not.
After all, your bread will still smell good if you use three cups of flower.
And if you tell your boss you’ll deal with pay cuts using the “grin and bare it” philosophy, it’s probably nothing a good lawyer can’t solve.
And, hey (hay!), that farmer who bought a new ho for his field, well, that was an investment with a happy ending. Right?
I mean it: Write! But please do yourself a favor and consider the homonym. Just a little bit of thought can save you from ill-chosen language, ensuring that your own words won’t come back to haunt you.
Or byte ewe in the as.

Stephanie Gianopoulos is a freelance editor and writer. All similarities between Stephanie and Red the Editrix are purely coincidental, with the exception of the ones that arent. Oh and she has boobs and tentacles.