Letter: Dec. 21, 2013, homophones
Two headlines in the Dec. 8 Sunday Gazette-Mail cry out for attention.
In the Business section, Page 1 E: Sales sore as natural foods trend meets holiday demand.
Even one who is only casually familiar with the English language knows that those sales soar. They are not suffering from the aches and pains of too much exercise.
In the Valley & State section, Page 1B: EPA sites dairy air problems. No. No. No. The EPA is not establishing a location for methane emissions. The EPA knows where they are occurring. The EPA is calling attention to those emission problems. EPA cites diary air problems.
We all know these incorrect usages are aided and abetted by the use of Spell Check, the computer program many people use to verify spellings. The problem is, sore and soar and site and cite are all legitimate words. There are many such word pairings in the English language - words that sound alike but have different meanings.
Spell Check recognizes words but cannot verify meanings. That's why people make the best editors, not computer programs. I urge the Gazette to invest in a fairly smart individual - preferably an English Major - to perform a quick scan of all headlines before the newspaper goes to press. If the Gazette already employs such a person, I humbly submit that you didn't get a smart one. Try again.
James P. Norris