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Photo: Intarapong (Shutterstock) Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings, and usually different spellings. Some are easy to distinguish (plane and plain, flower and flour— though I still pause and reflect every time I need to write “cauliflower”) and some are harder. Here, we’ll focus on the trickier ones people easily get tripped up on. How many of these are you getting right every time? Affect/Effect : Affect is the cause; effect is the result. For example: The rain affected everyone’s mood. Did the damp weather have any effect on your health? Accept/Except : Accept means to receive. Except means “not including.” For example: The church is accepting food donations. They’ll take anything except expired food. Rein/Reign : Reins are long, narrow straps attached to a horse’s bit. Reign means to hold royal office (or the period during which a sovereign rules). For example: Make no mistake, Whitney holds the reins in this relationship. It’s hard to believe Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for 69 years. Although it may be counterintuitive, when conveying someone has freedom to do whatever they want, the correct expression is “free rein.” (It dates back to the 17th century when horseback riders would hold the reins loosely and let their horses lead.) Principal/Principle : Principal means main, first in order of importance, the one with the most authority, or a sum of money on which interest is paid. A principle is a fundamental truth, theorem or law. For example: She never […]