English tips: Are you piqued when you peek at the peak?

Communicate for Success—English Tips, Vol. 6

Today is our homophone edition, words with similar sounds but different spellings and meanings. Here are five you need to be aware of.

Communicate for Success word cloud taken from Consistent Voice Communication's web home page and created with tagxedo.comLoose, lose—Only a loose loser confuses the two. “Lose” is the verb of the noun lost. “Loose” is an adjective meaning “not constrictive.” “I may lose my keys because of my loose pants.”

Peaked, peeked, piqued—A “peak” is a high point. To “peek” is to take a quick look, often surreptitiously. To be “piqued” is to be annoyed. “I was piqued when I peeked at the peak.”

Then vs. than—“Then” denotes time. “Than” compares. “I would rather have an orange than a pear. Then, I will eat my apple.”

Compliment vs. complement—If something “complements,” it completes or goes well with something else. A “compliment,” on the other hand, is praise or flattery. “I complimented her on her complementary accessories.”

Where, we’re, were, wear—“Where” is a place. “We’re” is a contraction of “we are.” “Were” is the past tense of are. “Wear” is to adorn yourself. “Where we were tells a lot about where we’re going and what we’re wearing.”

More to come. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss any. Or click on the archive link below. Have a question about the English language? Ask it in the comments section.

English tips archive

Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at Tom@YourConsistentVoice.com.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Lena on January 27, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    These are great. I learned something! I recognized the different uses of “compliment” and “complement” but I did not realize they were actually different words with different spelling. I will now resist the urge to try to use it in a clever sentence and stick with Thanks!



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