They lurk in the silent places. You cannot hear them coming. They are wily and crafty, and if there is anything a rogue fears, it is wit and guile in beings that have no right to it, and an evil intent behind using them, besides. Also, words that sound like OTHER words, which is what homophones are. Such sneakiness is reserved for members of the Rogue Guild, and no others.
It is the evilest of intent behind the homophone. It seeks to sunder the meaning from a word and render it laughable. And it is laughable. I, for one, will mock it roundly. Commencing thusly.
There their they’re
A devilish trio, these, and perhaps the most notorious of the homophonic coven of havoc. The young folk in particular are guilty of mistaking any one of these for its evil sibling, relying on the sound to convey the purpose. This is a mistake, for anyone knows that if you give a homophone a vowel he will go and take the whole goddamn phonic, and there is no dealing with a word like that.
Their is possessive, clutching subjects to itself. “That’s their box of half-eaten Spam and no, I don’t know why” or “Their children sneeze too loudly.” Grabby little word, their, always taking hold of objects and giving them up to unseen persons. Accusatory, too, pinning the blame elsewhere. This may be why their is rarely mistaken for its fellows, though its fellows are often mistaken for it (goes round and round your head like a bad night on Vicoden and Guiness, doesn’t it). Also, it’s hardest to spell.
They’re is a riotous word, a contraction in fact, a gleeful shortening of ‘they are’. It chatters incessantly. It wants to spill the secrets. They’re is, in fact, a gossip of a high order. “They’re going to the movies and they’re sitting in the back row.” “They’re coming, hide the marshmallows.” “They’re going to smell like tuna now, you watch.” They’re confuses the hell out of most people, perhaps because of the chattering, or the apostrophe. It’s hard to tell.
There is the most distant of the three, quiet and placid. It can be found, often, over there, in a place that is not this place. It is perhaps the most deadly of the three, for it is easiest to spell, and most frequently is taken for the other two. “There is a house,” it says softly, “over there.” And just as you look to see what it meant, it’s off taking they’re’s place in a description of the previous evening’s antics.
They’re taking their tares there.
Everyone got that? Good. What about this one?
Their taking there tares they’re.
See the problem? See how it just DOESN’T MAKE SENSE? The homophones are silent and deadly, like certain kinds of gas (hm, second fart joke in as many days. I should never have read that Mike Myers interview). They will stink up your writing like nothing else. We shall be adding more soon.