Ever felt the need to protect your hoard from a marauding horde? Today, I show you how…to get the spellings right, anyway.
I love a good homophone. That, just to clarify matters, is a word whose pronunciation is the same as another’s, but whose spelling and/or definition is different. If you’d like to familiarise yourself with the common British English homophones, you can find a list here. Visit the list and you’ll see that sometimes homophones occur as quadruplets, and frequently as triplets. For now, though, I’m keeping it simple. In this post we’ll examine a mere couplet of words with the same sound.
Today’s homophonic pair seems to present many writers with particular difficulties. Back when I was working as an academic writing mentor, I frequently encountered students who were confused about them. One spelling was often used when the other was intended, and things generally got a bit random. I’ve been thinking ever since then that there’s clearly a need for a definitive guide to their usage (ahem). So without further ado, here’s my little hoard/horde crib sheet, produced with reference to my invaluable Chambers Dictionary app.
- Hoard: your stash of chocolate or unhealthily large collection of out-of-date newspapers. Defined by Chambers as:
- Horde: those chaps who are hell-bent on coming over here to take our jobs. Or is it our state benefits? Actually, it’s probably both. After all, today’s qualified doctor spawns tomorrow’s generation of below-the-breadline, benefit-receiving arts graduates, right? But never mind all that. Here’s the definition:
In short, you can be a hoarder all on your own, but to be part of a horde you need other people. But I’d better stop right now before this starts to sound even more like a motivational poster than it already does.