#Homonyms with Harmony Part Eleven: Commonly Misused ‘H’ Words #HowtoWrite #Authors

Hi everyone.

As promised, um … a looong time ago, here is the next post in the Homonyms with Harmony series.

Today’s post is tackling Commonly Misused ‘H’ Words. For those who haven’t seen the previous posts, you can find all nine HERE in their original form on Story Empire. I’ve taken you to the final post of mine there as it contains links to all prior nine posts at the bottom for easy reference.

So, without further ado, we jump into those irksome H words:

 

words have power post header

Quick Note: for those who missed the introduction to this series, here’s a quick explanation about the three Hs (and a reminder for those who have seen it) …

 

HOMONYMS are two or more words that have the same sound or spelling but differ in meaning, such as Wave and Waive.

HOMOPHONES are two or more words, such as Knew and New, which we pronounce the same but that differ in meaning, origin, and–often–spelling.

HOMOGRAPHS are words which we spell the same, but which differ in origin, meaning, and–sometimes–pronunciation, such as the verb Bear (to carry or endure) and the noun Bear (the animal).

For the purposes of this series, and to keep things simple, I include each of these three Hs under the term Homonyms.


  1. Hare vs Hair:

Hare refers to a type of rabbit, while hair is the protein filament which grows from follicles found on the body. For example: The Hare leapt high into the air before bounding away from the dog. [And] She has long Hair.

 

  1. Hear vs Here:

Hear relates to the act of perceiving sound, whilst here refers to a location or place. For example: I can’t go Hear you. Speak up, please. [And] I couldn’t wait to come Here for the beautiful view.

 

  1. Higher vs Hire:

Higher refers to a greater or more elevated position. Hire is to employ someone for work. Fore example: We must raise the scaffold Higher to reach the chimney. [And] We need to Hire more staff.

 

  1. Hole vs Whole:

A hole is an opening or an empty space. Whole means complete or entire. For example: The ragged Hole in the road collapsed into a sinkhole after the deluge of rain. [And] He ate the Whole cake.

 

  1. Hostile vs Hostel:

Hostile describes something unfriendly, aggressive, or opposed. Hostel refers to a budget accommodation facility, often used by travellers. For example: The opposing team were the most Hostile yet. [And] We stayed in a Hostel during our trip.

 

  1. Hot vs Hut:

Hot refers to a high temperature. A hut is a small, primitive house or shelter. For example: It’s so Hot in the midday sun. [And] Let’s go inside the Hut to cool off.

 

  1. Hall vs Haul:

A hall is a passageway and/or a large room. Haul is to pull or drag. For example: The splendour of the grand Hall left Adam speechless. [And] It took four horses to Haul the heavy load.

 

  1. Halve vs Have:

Halve is to divide in two. Have means to possess and/or to hold. For example: To settle the argument, the king decided to Halve the cat and give one piece each to the women. [And] Emma felt such joy to Have such adorable grandchildren.

 

  1. Hangar vs Hanger:

A hangar is a large enclosure which houses aircraft. Whereas a hanger is something upon which you hang clothes, etc. For example: The Hangar wasn’t big enough for the jet liner to park in. [And] The wardrobe couldn’t hold any more Hangers as it was so full already.

 

  1. Hanged vs Hung:

Speakers and writers who value precision know the past tense of hang, when it means ‘to put to death using a rope’, is hanged, not hung. This applies to both the active and passive voice. For inanimate objects, we use hung. For example: They Hanged the prisoner. / The prisoner was Hanged. [And] Peter Hung his clothes on the spare hangers in the closet. / Tom Hung from the tree with one hand. / He found himself Hung upside down.

 

  1. Heal vs Heel: 

Heal is to repair and/or to restore to health. Heel refers to the back part of the foot and/or a scoundrel, as well as part of a shoe. For example: The doctor used all his skills to Heal the duke. [And] The ill-fitting boots blistered her Heel so badly it bled. / The high Heels made Emily stumble.

Heal vs Heel graphic showing a man in a hospital wearing a gown and high heels

 

  1. Healthful vs Healthy:

Healthful means something which promotes health. Healthy refers to being in good health. However, in modern everyday speech, Healthful has been nudged aside by Healthy in phrases such as, Healthy food or a Healthy diet. So if you’re writing historical fiction, you would want to use Healthful. Whereas if you’re writing contemporary fiction, Healthy would be the correct choice to fit in with current norms. Just to keep things interesting for you! *wink*

 

  1. Hardy vs Hearty:

Hardy means strong and able to withstand difficult or demanding situations. Hearty is friendly or enthusiastic as well as healthy or good for you. For example: A Hardy plant can survive the hardships of a cold winter. [And] A Hearty greeting from old friends can warm the heart.

 

  1. Heroine vs Heroin: 

Heroine refers to a woman admired for courage or ability. Heroin is an illegal drug derived from morphine. For example: The brave Heroine saved the villagers from certain death. [And] The police discovered vast amounts of Heroin hidden inside cheese. Oh but for that little ‘e’!

 

  1. Historic vs Historical vs Hysteric vs Hysterical:

A historical event is something which occurred some time ago. An historic event is important, memorable, and enduring. Usually, Historical means actual as opposed to literary, mythic, or figurative. Hysterical is to become affected by or deriving from wildly uncontrolled emotion. And Hysteric refers to a wildly emotional and exaggerated reaction. For example: A Historical study concerns history whilst a Historic event makes history. [And] Janet became Hysterical and screamed. [And] The widow had Hysterics and so the inquest wrapped up quickly.

 

  1. Hoard vs Horde: 

To hoard means to stockpile; to amass. A horde is a large group and/or a crowd or army. For example: The old man Hoarded his millions inside the walls and beneath the floorboards of the ancient mansion. [And] The Egyptian Horde soon overran the broken Hyksos ranks.

graphic showing horde vs hoard with a hoard of money and a army horde.

 

  1. Hoarse vs Horse:

Hoarse refers to a raspy sore-throated voice. A horse is a type of animal. For example: The opera star sang so often she ended up sounding Hoarse and had to take a break to heal. [And] The race Horse ran magnificently.

 

  1. Holy vs Wholly:

Holy means sacred. Wholly refers to entirely. For example: The Holy relics were kept under guard day and night. [And] Her statement referred Wholly to the disaster under investigation.

 

  1. Hone In vs Home In:

These two words have achieved undeserved legitimacy for the worst of reasons: the similarity in sound and appearance of n and m. To hone is to use a technique for sharpening cutting tools and also to hone one’s skills. To home in, like zero in, is to get something firmly in your sights, and also to get to the crux of a problem. For example: The apprentice took months to Hone his carpentry skills but soon became expert. [And] The judge took time to Home in on the facts of the case. / The Homing pigeon arrived back quickly.

 

  1. Hay vs Hey:

Hay refers to animal food. Hey is an interjection to get attention. For example: The groom ensured the horses had plenty of fresh Hay. [And] When Daddy turned his back, the toddler yelled, ‘Hey!’ to reclaim his father’s attention.

 

  1. Hi vs High:

Hi is a way of saying Hello. High means far up. For example: Hi, Jenny. Long time, no see. [And] The hot-air balloon soon rose High into the sky.

 

  1. Hour vs Our:

An hour is a measure of time—sixty minutes to be precise. Our means something which belongs to us. For example: Penny wasted a whole Hour changing from one pair of jeans to another. [And] That’s Our dog, not yours.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this instalment. If any of you have more H suggestions, please feel free to share in the comments below. Hopefully, I can keep pegging away until I have these in a book for you. Fingers crossed 🤞

Thanks for stopping by and if all works out, I’ll see you soon! 💕😊

16 Comments on “#Homonyms with Harmony Part Eleven: Commonly Misused ‘H’ Words #HowtoWrite #Authors

  1. Hi Harmony, I am pleased to say that I do know the difference between all of these. I may sometimes misspell them though. I have never been good at spelling because I learned to read using the ITA system.

    • I’m not aware of the ITA system, but I feel your frustration. These days, even though I know, I have to double check more and more, lols. Thanks, Robbie 💕🙂

    • I have fun making the pics, so I’m thrilled you enjoy them! Thanks, Teri 💕🙂

  2. I’m happy to see this great list continue, Harmony. I see a few that give me issue. Xo

  3. Love this series, Harmony. You do an excellent job of clarifying when to use each of these often confusing words. Thanks so much for helping us remember! ❤️😊

    • lols! 🤣 Hubby and I exchanged texts yesterday with a play on a word and it was ots of fun. I love you and your hubby do the same, Jacqui 💕🙂

    • I tell you, Viv, words both amaze and frustrate me, lols. Yes, historic and historical were great ones for me to be reminded of as well. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts 💕🙂

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