Thursday, March 29, 2007

Homonyms and Synonyms

Grammar isn't a topic I much hear discussed. Haven't much heard much of anything about homonyms and synonyms since Sister Nonna discussed them in fourth grade English class back in 1968.

Homonyms are words that sound alike but mean different things: There and Their and They're are homonyms, as are Here and Hear, and Right and Write.

Synonyms are words that mean the same thing but sound different: Big and Large are synonyms, as are Small and Little, and Wide and Vast.

Last night, I saw the item below at

Click for Larger Image
When you clicked the headline (which you can find below), the article was titled: "Female ump to work MLB exhibition game." The word "ump," as you may or may not know, is American slang for the word umpire, which defines in its noun form thusly:
a person selected to rule on the plays in a game.

Empire, on the other hand is defined as:
a group of nations or peoples ruled over by an emperor, empress, or other powerful sovereign or government: usually a territory of greater extent than a kingdom, as the former British Empire, French Empire, Russian Empire, Byzantine Empire, or Roman Empire.

These words are neither synonyms (they do not have the same meanings), nor are they homonyms (they do not sound the same).

This error should have been noticed by someone, but it is fifteen hours later and it is still there!

Now, my article here should be about Ria Cortesio and her opportunity, like Pam Postema before her, to break-in to the big leagues. Maybe I will write about that another time. For now, I just want to chuckle about what Sister Nonna might say to the person who typed "Meet Pro-Baseball's Only Female Empire" and the editor who has let it appear on the internet for fifteen hours.

Meet Pro-Baseball's Only Female Empire

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
Gore Vidal

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