Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings. Homonyms are a subset of homophones – they sound alike and are spelled alike, but have different meanings. The word right is a good example of a word with many homophones and homonyms, as the following story illustrates:
When you write copy, you own the right of copyright to the copy you write, if the copy is right. If, however, your copy falls over, you must right your copy. If you write religious services, you write rite, and own the right of copyright to the rite you write.
Conservatives write Right copy, and own the right of copyright, to the Right copy they write. A right-wing cleric would write Right rite, and owns the right of copyright to the Right rite he has the right to write. His editor has the job of making the Right rite copy right before the copyright can be right.
Should Reverend Jim Wright decide to write Right rite, then Wright would write right rite, to which Wright has the right of copyright. Duplicating his rite would be to copy Wright’s Right rite, and violate copyright, to which Wright would have the right to right.
Use this color-coded key to understand the homophones and homonyms used in the story:
write -( v.) to compose letters or words
right – (n.) a legal or moral claim
right – (adj.) correct, proper
right – (v.) to restore something to it’s proper condition
rite – a ceremonial act
Right – conservative (politically)
Wright – a common surname, probably originally meaning maker (as in playwright, wheelwright, cartwright, shipwright, etc.)
I got this story from a friend, who got it from a friend, who found it on the internet, but I couldn’t trace it back to the original author. If any of you know who wrote it, let me know. I don’t want to violate someone’s copyright. That just wouldn’t be right!