A foul fowl?

foul_vs_fowlEnglish words can be confusing.  Maybe sound the same but have different spellings. These words are called homophones.

One of the people on my writers’ critique group shared a homophone story regarding her eight-year-old daughter.

Here is what the mom said about the incident with her young daughter:

She played her recorder for talent show tryouts today. I asked her how it went, and she said she had some foul notes. I asked her if she knew what foul meant. She said she kinda did, so I told her the word actually has a few meanings. I said it could be “fowl” meaning bird. It could mean something that stank or was rotting, and it is also what you call a ball that is hit out of bounds in baseball. She thought about it, and told me that some of her notes went out of bounds. Hahahaha!

I publish lots of things that are from the internet, but I especially like this one since I know both of the people involved.

What homophones give you trouble?


2 responses to “A foul fowl?

  1. Technically Proficient

    Our English (American) language can be daunting and confusing to the foreigner – and to us, too. An example: a friend from Latin America was attending a dinner party with his spouse. During a conversation with his American associates, he attempted to explain why he and his wife had no children. He told the group that his wife is “impregnable” and the strange stares he got prompted him to correct himself by explaining that his wife is “inconceivable” – and he had more stares. He finally cleared up the confusion by explaining that his wife is “unbearable.”

  2. I love both stories. While working at the child care center on our campus for 20+ years I have heard so many strange takes on our “English”. Our town is and college have been a regional refuge center for ever. I have worked with many parents and children from Vietnam, Serbia, Bosnia, Indo-China, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russian, Kosovar, Bosnia, Croatia,
    Iran, and Iraq just to name a few.

    They would come to us with little or no English skills, I had dictionaries from every country in my office. Many of these lovely people trying to learn our English would struggle using these homophones. I would receive many a “what the H….” look as I would attempt to help them to the word they were trying to find. By the end of the 2nd semester, they would more proficient and would tell me that our language made no sense, having the same word for so many things, it was the hardest thing to learn.

    I notice my grandchildren go through the same confusion as they progress through school. I just did a “Google” it appears we have at least 441 pairs or triplets (or more) of these words. How did we ever learn them all?

    Former Soviet Union