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Reed's Homophones: A comprehensive book of sound-alike words Paperback – March 27, 2012
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About the Author
After completing his education at Columbia University with a major in English literature and a minor in foreign languages, A. D. Reed began his career writing marketing materials for the NBC Television Network. He launched a freelance writing and editing career in which he specialized in marketing and public relations, and simultaneously he began writing features, essays, and opinion pieces for newspapers and online publications. Owner of the web-based business MyOwnEditor.com, he has edited five books of fiction and nonfiction, and he edits the monthly newspaper The Urban News in Asheville, NC.
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From the cover allow me to quote the following for definition's sake: `A standard reference book for writers and editors containing hundreds of sound-alike words (homophones) and the most common pairs of misused, mispronounced, misspelled, and otherwise mistaken words in the English language. This volume will quickly become an essential companion for journalists, copy-editors, proofreaders, students of English as a second language or as their native tongue.' And there you have it - contents and definition wise. But that doesn't begin to expand the mind the way Reed proceeds through this now indispensible book.
The manner in which he lists the words that sound the same but often have quite different meanings is clear and well paced. But in addition to informing us of homophones, he also discusses easily misused, confused or mistyped words as well as mispronounced words. Also included is an informative and entertaining discussion of neologisms (words that aren't quite words - yet), synonyms and `schizophrenic antonyms' and he tops the book off with some insights into his own pet peeves.
It takes a fine writer to share both the literary knowledge as well as the humor behind such bloopers in language. Yes, we are all inundated with new social media lingo (OMG, lol, `Totally' etc) and doubtless those words will fall into the standard dictionary soon. But it is the sense of humor with which Reed approaches his topic that makes this book a valuable companion. Each of has a collection of words we misuse or mis-type consistently (mine is `form' instead of `from' among dozens of others) and it is a welcome discovery to find that someone cares about missteps. Grady Harp, April 13
But I do have a suggestion for A.D. Reed: Contact the software folks at Open Office/Neo Office immediately and sell them your list.
As the author notes in his introduction, the need for this collection has risen with the ubiquity of automated spell-checking and the reduction in editorial staffers at both periodicals and publishing houses. Further complication has been created by the spread of dictation software.
There is absolutely no reason why word processing programs couldn't be loaded with this list, and just as one can choose to have apparent misspellings underlined, one might choose to have homophones highlighted. It would still require a sentient being to decide if the word was correctly chosen, but at least there would be an alert.
Until that happy day ... get the book!