What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

18 June 2012

Is It Reigning, Reining, or Raining?

By way of follow-up, or perhaps continuation, on my Piqued/Peeked/Peaked post, I bring you more easily mixed-up words. Today, I'll address the continued internet confusion of another set of homophones: Reign, Rein, and Rain.

The noun version of a rein. Well,
part of it, anyway. Source.
Okay, so these aren't confused quite as much. But people still seem to struggle with "rein" in the sense of "curb" or "keep in check"; I've seen both "rain" and "reign" used instead. Especially on Twitter, so I suppose people just keep running out of characters. So, here's (part of) the definition, thanks to Dictionary.com:


verb (used with object)
  1. to check or guide (a horse or other animal) by exerting pressure on a bridle bit by means of the reins.
  2. to curb; restrain; control.
  1. draw rein, to curtail one's speed or progress; halt: The rider saw the snake and drew rein sharply.
  2. give rein to, to give complete freedom to; indulge freely: to give rein to one's imagination. Also, give free rein to, give full rein to.
So if you want to stop a problem before it gets worse, you want to rein it in. Not "rain", which would be meteorologically messy, nor "reign", which would require a royal family. "Rein" is your friend.

Do you have problems with these words? Do other people drive you crazy when they confuse them?


Anonymous said...

Next you can tackle pear/pair/pare.

JEFritz said...

I don't mix these words up much, but I think that's because I don't usually have to use rein and reign. Those are the ones I usually see mixed up in other books, too. It's that darn silent G.

Su said...

@Delores: You are so right. And bear (both kinds)/bare, and... you know, this may end up being a long list.

@JE: 'Tis true. Silent letters are tricky. :/

erica and christy said...

I just finished a book where the author/editor obviously did a spellcheck, but forgot to do a homonym/homophone check. Very annoying!

Alisha said...

The most common misused homophones I see are "your/you're" and "there/their/they're". How do people not get that these are completely different words, and that they are not supposed to be interchanged? Makes me want to slap their grammar/English teacher for not pounding that into their brains ha!

Thanks for this post!

Su said...

@Erica: Yes! I see that all the time! Aaargh.

@Alisha: I've just given up on those words. :/