Last weekend, I was browsing in the Cajun food section at the grocery store. Near the shelf with all the mixes was a handwritten sign that said, “You’ll roux the day you don’t use our instant roux mix.”
I love clever wordplay, especially when it’s found in unexpected places. This sign was a play on two homophones. Roux is a mixture of flour and fat that is used to make sauces. Rue means to feel regret or remorse.
Homophones are words that are pronounced the same, but have different meanings and are spelled differently. The English language is littered with homophones, and some are more confusing than others. Below are a few examples. (Click on the words for their definitions.)
Homophones are not to be confused with homographs: words written the same way, but have different meanings and different pronunciations (wind, advocate, bass). And then there are homonyms: words spelled and pronounced the same way, but that have have different meanings (lie, fair).
Readers, any other homophones to share?
Laura Hale Brockway is medical writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily. She writes about writing at impertinentremarks.com.