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Loafs or loaves

  • Loafs and loaves are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English. Two words or more than two words, even if they are common words, may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, homographs, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Sometimes, confusables are word constructions that are not proper English words. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words that have a different meaning from one another and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure to learn new words and commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling and meaning. To learn new words in the English language, one must not only study a spelling words list, one must know the meaning of words in one’s vocabulary word list. It is also helpful to memorize how to correctly pronounce words and to know the etymology of new words or where they are derived from. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables loafs and loaves, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

     

    Loafs is the third-person present form of the verb, loaf. Loaf means to be lazy, indolent, or idle. Related words are loafed, loafing. The verb loaf came into use in the 1830s and is a back-formation of the noun, loafer, meaning a lazy person. The word loafer is derived from the German word, Landlaufer, which means vagabond.

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    Loaves is the plural form of loaf, which is a unit of bread. Loaves may be whole or sliced. Loaves is one of a group of nouns that end in “f” and are made plural by changing the “f” to “v.” This dates back to how words were pronounced in Old English; an “f” that occurred between two vowels was pronounced as a “v.”

    Examples

    This retired luchador may not look like much initially – he limps, he loafs, he grumbles – but he’s an important character from the source material, the bestselling trilogy on which the show is based. (Baltimore Sun)

    The heart of the film is taken up with the two brothers getting to know their charismatic but never-do-well father as he loafs around drinking and smoking doobies with his buddies while he has Boy digging holes looking for his loot. (Hollywood Reporter)

    You could say that I’m even a little bit addicted to them – I even bake on weeks when my family doesn’t need seven loaves of challa. (Jerusalem Post)

    But if you’re several loaves in and have decided baking might be more than just a passing COVID-era distraction, it might be time to level-up your bread making tools. (Bon Appetit Magazine)


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