Odd Homonym

Today, the eighth graders at the middle school down the hill from my studio will graduate and enter a new phase of life.

When a friend mentioned that his son is in the graduating class, I remembered my own graduation from junior high school. It was held outdoors on a lovely day, and all of us students were excited to be the center of attention. We had been warned, though, that it was a solemn occasion, and that we were to keep our excitement in check.

After we we had quietly filed onto the bleachers and taken our appointed places, the vice principal began delivering his opening remarks:

There are sixty odd students here . . .

Terrific start! But the poor man was understandably embarrassed. Of course he meant “odd” in the sense that he wasn’t quite sure if there were 62, 63, or 64 of us. But what the students and audience heard was something like this:

There are sixty strange students here . . .

The vice principal couldn’t have picked a worse time to forget that “odd” is a homonym: it is written and pronounced the same as another word, but has a different meaning.

I have forgotten the vice principal’s name. But I’ll always be grateful to him for adding some fun and laughter to that otherwise solemn occasion.


Tara Treasurefield
Tara’s Writing Studio


About 123clear

I translate foggy information into plain English.
This entry was posted in clear thinking, homonym, word usage. Bookmark the permalink.

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