19th May 2016
It’s been a punny old day today: or how the pun is no laughing matter in your business English
“It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.”
“What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”
“You ask a glass of water.”
― Douglas Adams,
The English language is stuffed full of homophones – words that are pronounced in the same way as another word but have different meanings and often spellings too.
This can cause all manner of problems in our writing that Microsoft’s spelling and grammar checker won’t necessarily pick up: to, two or too?
It makes sense then to get any kind of text you are putting into the public domain checked over by a fresh of eyes. Preferably mine.
There is though a lighter side to the English language’s capacity to confuse and that’s the pun – a type of word play that suggests two or more meanings by exploiting multiple meanings of words or similar sounding words for comic effect.
If you like punning then you’re in good company because Shakespeare’s writing is packed with them. Some of his are more complex than others and many have been lost in modern English but many, many of them must rank in the ‘most-quoted’ phrases in the English language. For instance:
In the opening lines of Richard III – ‘Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York,’ where the speaker, Richard, is referring to himself, a son of the house of York. In using that pun Shakespeare transforms the seasons of winter and summer into the idea of bleak and good times.
Anyway – I rather enjoyed this sign recently seen on the tables in The Terrace Café on Plymouth Hoe.
However, as entertaining as all this is, homophone errors are no laughing matter in your business writing.
The brain is basically a smart-Alec and will see what it knows it should sea rather than what’s actually their.
To find out more about my proofreading and editing service visit my website: https://www.aaedits.co.uk/services/proofreading/
Let your words be my work and every little thing will be all write! 😉
JUST A MINUTE
Getting your business documents proofread and edited is one thing – and I can definitely help with that. Just as I can also help with writing business articles and blogs.
But perhaps you and your staff need help with such business writing tasks as minute taking and report writing?
In which case I highly recommend you read this: https://www.aaedits.co.uk/blog/business-english-quick-learn/
Now I won’t lie. If you follow the link on the banner strategically positioned on the blogging area of my website I will receive a little package of fairy dust and possibly some glittery unicorn’s poo. And I’d really like that.
So thank you in advance.
As the sign says: seas the day!