Sound-Alike Words

No, this is not a new category for my blog, but rather a common phenomenon in English.  Two words can sound completely alike, and if we don’t use them frequently enough, we can confuse the two while writing.

Case in point:

I was just writing a piece about Chinese cuisine in America and wanted to say something regarding how chow mein and chop suey were dishes created especially for American taste buds.

So when I wrote it, I used the phrase “to please the American palette.”

What’s wrong with that?

A quick trip to dictionary.com turned up the fact that palette refers to an artist’s handheld board with the different colored paints on it.  What I wanted, I discovered, was palate, which refers to taste.

Lesson here: It always pays to check.

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