“Galaxy Quest,” in case you haven’t seen it, is a science fiction parody about a group of actors who get caught up in a very real intergalactic battle between forces of good and evil. The movie is filled with pithy one-liners, clever word play, and even a lesson on homophones.
A homophone (or homonym) is a word that is pronounced the same as another, but means something entirely different. Take, for instance, one scene from “Galaxy Quest” in which the crew visits a strange planet in search of a beryllium sphere they need to repair their ship. They encounter a band of tiny, childlike aliens who appear to be mining the planet’s beryllium.
The dialogue is as follows:
Alexander: “Could they be the miners?”
Fred: “Sure. They’re like three years old.” (Everyone looks at Fred.)
Alexander: “Miners, not minors.”
Fred: “You lost me.”
Here are some other homophones—some come in threes—that cause confusion in this and other galaxies. (Click on the words for the definitions.)
Readers, any other homophones to share?
Laura Hale Brockway an Austin-based writer and editor and is the author of the grammar/usage/random thoughts blog, impertinentremarks.com.