‘Whine’ and ‘wine’

I bring you more homophones.


  • a long, high-pitched plaintive cry; a long, high-pitched unpleasant sound
  • to issue a long, high-pitched cry or sound
  • a petulant complaint
  • to whinge or complain.


  • https://pixabay.com/en/wine-rose-glass-glasses-pink-791133/an alcoholic drink produced by the fermenting of grapes (usually with sugar and water)
  • an alcoholic drink produced by the fermenting of other fruits and flowers (usually with sugar and water)
  • a dark purplish-red colour.

You can wine and dine someone by offering them (usually lavish) drinks and a meal, or you can wine and dine as you enjoy yourself by eating and drinking.

Thank you to Jeff Curry for suggesting this post.


‘Complement’ or ‘compliment’?

This is another post written because of suggestions I have received from readers of my blog (thank you).


My compliments to the chef.


  • An expression of admiration or praise.
  • Compliments are formal greetings.


  • A person or thing that completes something.
  • An accompaniment to something that makes it perfect or brings out its good qualities.
  • A full number or complete amount of something.
  • The full amount of officers and crew needed to man a ship.
  • A word or words added to the verb to complete the meaning of the predicate in a sentence (grammar).
  • The angle added to a specified angle to produce a right angle (geometry).
  • The members of a set that are not found in a given subset (maths).
  • A group of proteins found in blood plasma and tissue fluid that combine with an antigen-antibody complex to cause the breakdown of foreign cells (physiology).

The meaning is the same when using the words as verbs. You compliment me on my dress. My shoes complement my dress.

Complimentary and complementary

The difference here is largely the same as above. However, complimentary has an additional meaning to expressing admiration or praise: it can also mean given free of charge.

Complementary means completing or forming a complement, or refers to the relationship between things that go well together.


It may help as an aid to spelling to remember that a complement completes something and complete is spelt with an e (as well as the ‘e’ sound when pronounced).

‘Stationary’ and ‘stationery’

http://mrg.bz/QFyes2If I had a penny for every time I saw these mixed up, I would have a very heavy penny jar.

And I would get fed up of that face the cashiers at the bank pull when they see you are depositing lots of change.*

  • Stationary: not moving or motionless.
  • Stationery: writing and other office materials.

*I always sort it into the correct denominations and amounts, and put it into the little plastic bags. I don’t know why I still get the face.

Feats of daring-do

Of course, this should be derring-do. But the misspelling is understandable given the meaning of the word and its origins.

https://pixabay.com/en/biker-motorcycle-stunt-man-person-384921/Derring-do is pleasantly archaic and often used humorously in modern writing.* It means actions showing heroic courage or feats of daring.

The word originated from the late Middle English dorryng do (meaningdaring to do’) being misprinted as derrynge do in the 16th-century editions of John Lydgate’s Chronicle of Troy.

The modern usage and spelling is usually most associated with Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe.

*I would love to proofread a story where derring-do doesn’t look out of place. I am imagining pirates. Or an old-fashioned superhero.

CV spelling mistakes

I was sat, bleary-eyed, reading the i (a British newspaper) this morning. In it, there was a list of the top ten CV spelling mistakes. The original source for the feature can be found here. Almost one-third of CVs contain at least one spelling error.

The number one most frequently misspelt word is responsibility, followed by liaise and university. The list doesn’t give examples of the incorrect spellings that were found in order to form the top ten.

There are some other examples of misspellings on the website, and I have had a look at what Microsoft Word makes of them. They are all subject to a red squiggly line or to automatic correction (apart from travelling – the spellchecker, my dictionary and I disagree with Adzuna: the legitimate British spelling is with two ls). My advice, therefore, is to make sure you take note of what your spellchecker is trying to tell you.

However, I wouldn’t rely on your spellchecker completely. It can tell you if the word is spelled incorrectly, but it can’t tell you if it is the appropriate word. It isn’t going to pick up on the correct usage of their or there, your or you’re, and its or it’s. It might not recognise the correct spelling of an unusual word. And I’m not even going to mention the poor grammatical suggestions spellchecker makes…

Make sure you are thorough when you read what you have written. Read for sense as well as for the errors. If the work is of importance, get someone else to look at it for you. When it is your own writing, it is hard to read what is there instead of what you expect to be there.

Your CV is of great importance. It is a potential employer’s first introduction to you. Take that extra time and make the extra effort. It’ll be worth it.