Writing is hard. Some aspects of it are hard, some are harder. Homophones don’t help anything.
I came across this article a while ago. It stresses that you can spell everything correctly and still be wrong. For example, being throne for a loop isn’t quite right. The examples here are excellent, but I want to take it a step further.
There seem to be some words that befuddle even editors of Big Five publications. I’ve read about characters pouring over papers more than once. (It would be better if they pored over them! That way the papers stay dry.)
These are two completely different things: bare arms and bear arms. One belongs either in a clothing description or a sex scene. The other belongs in a scene with weapons. The arms are spelled the same, but aren’t the same thing. The bear/bare needs to be right so we know which arms we’re talking about.
These two are a bit tricky: accessary and accessory. The first is a person who helps commit a crime. The second is something that helps complete an outfit. For even more confusion, that first one is used in Britain, but in the US, they are exactly the same word, both accessory.
Another pair is capitol and capital. In a capitol building, people pass legislation. It can be spelled with a capital letter. Inside the Capitol building in D.C. (that’s the one you capitalize) is where laws are created. In state capitol buildings, laws regarding capital punishment are decided. Even worse, Springfield is the capital of Illinois, which allows it to have a capitol building, which was built after raising the capital to do so. The O type capitol is only for buildings, if that helps.
One last confusing pair: principle and principal. The principal of the school is the one who enforces the principles of discipline. I keep this one straight by envisioning a friendly principal, one who is a pal.
If you love this subject, here’s just the link for you: http://www.singularis.ltd.uk/bifroest/misc/homophones-list.html
photos from morguefile by LiaLeslie, lisasoloninko, nightfall