#WhyWriteWrong? – #ReblogAlert – #StoryEmpire – #Misused Words #Confusing Homophones


Happy Fall, Y’all! I have decided to revive an old series, #WhyWriteWrong, because I find I’m still being pulled out of what I’m reading when words used incorrectly pop up. Sometimes I’m sure it’s a typo, other times, I’m pretty sure the author is mixed up about the meaning of the word. (Especially if they repeat the same error several times.) 

In addition to brand new posts on this topic, I’ll also be rerunning some older ones that I think could still be helpful reminders to us all. Some of those will be from earlier days here on The Write Stuff, and some, like today’s, will be from my time as a member of Story Empire.  You’ll be able to tell today’s post is from SE by the way a few things are worded, and I hope you’ll find the rerun useful.

It’s Marcia back again with another Why Write Wrong post. Quick & easy today: I have a pair of homophones I see being misused more often than you might think, and which, btw, can cause some totally unexpected—and undesirable–images to pop into the minds of your readers. And I also want to clarify the definition of a verb that is even more frequently misused. So, let’s get down to it!


First, the verb. Based on my own observation, this seems to be one many writers get wrong, but here’s the scoop. The rule for the past tense of the verb hang is really simple, with only ONE exception: Unless you are describing a person being suspended by a rope around the neck until dead, the only acceptable past tense of hang is hung. (And the operative word here is “person.” While people are hanged, inanimate objects are hung.)


Example for 99% of the time: Christmas doesn’t really arrive at our house until we’ve hung the lights on both of our big trees, and all three of our small ones. (Don’t ask. I’m somewhat of a fanatic about Christmas. 😀 )



Example 2, and again, this is the ONLY exception: Despite stories to the contrary, accused Salem witches were never burned at the stake, but were hanged instead.




Example 3, reinforcing the 99% rule: Despised for his cruel reign of terror, the king was hung in effigy in full view of the palace. (Again: Inanimate objects follow the normal rule, even if hung from a gallows.)




See? Easy. If you’re writing about the death of a person via a noose around the neck, used hanged. Otherwise, always, always use hung.


And now for the homophones. Take my word for it, you should be very, very careful with these, as one letter makes all the difference between them.

An unfortunate or unhappy person, OR a despicable, contemptible person.


  • Example 1: Can the poor wretch tell us who beat him up?
  • Example 2: Those miserable, ungrateful wretches deserve everything they get!



Definition:  (Noun) The sound or movement of vomiting or gagging.
Definition: (Verb) To make the sound and movement of vomiting. To gag.


  • Example: The vile odor coming from the tidepool was enough to cause even the strongest sailors to retch and vomit in the sand.

(See? I told you it was an image you might not want to put in your reader’s heads. Unless, of course, nauseated people are germane to your story.)


So, what do you think? Ever used hanged or hung incorrectly yourself, or seen it used wrong elsewhere? And  how about wretch vs retch? Are you pretty certain you’ll never, ever get those two mixed up? I sure hope so.  😀 Your turn now. Let us hear what you think in the comments section, because, as always, inquiring minds wanna know! 🙂

Meanwhile, let’s all go forth to write with happy hearts and nary a wretch or retch in sight, because–you guessed it–those are the hearts that produce the best results!

Thanks for reading today!

(The Original of this post can be found on Story Empire HERE)

55 thoughts on “#WhyWriteWrong? – #ReblogAlert – #StoryEmpire – #Misused Words #Confusing Homophones

  1. I wasn’t around the blogging world when this series previously ran. I’m looking forward to it. I think the most frequent error I saw from parents who wrote me was the misuse of the words “a lot.” I wish I had a dollar for all of the times I read, “Johnny needs alot of help on his math.” Of course, “allot” is one word and means to assign as a share or portion—a completely different meaning than a lot.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I hope you enjoy the series, Pete, and yep, I’ve seen that mistake alot …errrmmmm … I mean a lot … myself! 😉 For the most part, I can forgive parents, though I’d certainly notice, but it’s even more jarring to find it popping up in a novel. (Hence my overwhelming desire to help us all find easy ways to remember these things.)

      Now, don’t get me wrong. I make typos all the time, and often my fingers type the wrong homophones, too, with no apparent input from me.🙄 And sadly, these old eyes of mine don’t always catch my mistakes. This series is meant to help me remember to watch out for these errors, too.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and if all goes well, you can look for #WhyWriteWrong? on alternate Fridays from #GrannySays. I’ll do my best to get this one up and running, and really do hope you’ll enjoy it. Pretty much all of my examples will be things I’ve actually seen (too often) in published books, even some written by some surprisingly well-known authors, though of course, I’ll never reveal any names. Just goes to show you that we all make mistakes that slip by now and then.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Harmony! I’m so glad you enjoyed seeing it pop up again! One of the reasons I chose to revive the series is how much fun I had with them when I was a member of Story Empire. It was such a great experience, and I’ll never forget being part of your wonderful team! 🤗

      Thanks so much for stopping by this morning, and I hope you’ll enjoy this series, both new posts and old. 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Craig. I’m glad you feel that way. There will be more “re-runs” mixed in with new subjects, as I find them. (I’m making a list, and of course, checking it twice! 😄)

      And thanks so much for stopping by to let me know you’re glad I’m sharing some of the older ones, too. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you enjoyed the post, Gwen, and hanged/hung is one I’ve seen messed up over and over again. Just remember the ONLY exception, and you should be fine. If you’re not executing someone via a gallows in your story, it’s always hung. Easy-peasy, right?

      And thanks so much for stopping by today, too. I’m SO far behind on my blog visits, it makes me want to cry sometimes. Not just because I feel guilty about it, which I do, but because I enjoy visiting my online friends so much and learn a great deal from them, too. And I know I’m missing out right now. But I truly am working on it, as best I can. And I very much appreciate your taking the time to comment on today’s post, my friend. My goal is to resume doing the same very, very soon! 🤗💖

      Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you’re glad, Teri. And there will be brand new ones in this series, too. I’m hoping to mix in some of my favorite older ones (both from SE and from this blog posted a couple of years back) with some featuring newer errors I’ve seen popping up here and there. (Note to self: Start NEW list of those things spotted here and there. 😁)

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to comment, too! I’m planning to run this every other Friday, alternating with my #GrannySays series, and I do hope you’ll enjoy it! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • 😂😂😂 Oh, thanks for that, Sarah! It’s so good to know the lesson wasn’t wasted on you! 😄 Seriously, I’ll be doing some repeats, but some new ones, too. I’m once again keeping a list of errors I spot, and will share them with you every other Friday, if I can keep up.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to give me a good laugh! 🤗💖

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah’s comment made me grin! I love these explanations because they’re so clearly put and with that touch of humour that fixes the lesson delightfully! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • So glad you’ve enjoyed these in the past, Trish, and I really hope you’ll enjoy seeing both the reruns and the new ones going forward! Thanks so much for letting me know they’ve worked well for you, too! 😀 ❤


    • Thank you so much for that lovely compliment, Jan! I’m so happy to know you enjoyed them, and hope you’ll also enjoy what I come up with this go-around. There will be some repeats, but I’m also hoping to get some brand new ones done, as well.

      Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, too! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Sally! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed these in the past, and hope you’ll enjoy both the reruns and the completely new ones as I get it going again. I’m off to do a talk today on The Clean-Up Crew, Vultures and Crested Caracaras. Last one of the year for the Enterprise Museum folks. One more over at DeBary Hall Historic Site, and then I’m taking December off–from speaking engagements, anyway. Hoping to get a lot more writing done. I’ve never taken so long to finish a book before, and really need to focus on it, so I can get it out there, and return to the WRR series to start my spinoff novellas. Cole, Cole, & Dupree are calling me! 😃

      Now to get ready to tell folks how interesting vultures really are. Pretty, not so much. But interesting? Very! 😁 Thanks again for stopping by today! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 10th November 2021 – #Reviews Jan Sikes, #Writing Marcia Meara, #Poetry D.G. Kaye, #Round Up Carol Taylor | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  4. These are great, Marcia, because they can be funny when we get them wrong.
    I learned about hanged and hung when I wrote something like, “The man was hung.” My proof-reader got a kick out of the sexual context. I’ve done it correctly since then (I certainly hope).

    Liked by 2 people

Looking forward to hearing what YOU think! NOTE: If in doubt about leaving comments on this blog, please read the privacy statement in the menu at the top of the page.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s