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Live vs live

  • Live and live are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. These word pairs are often misused words. Heteronyms exist because of our ever-changing English language, and these words with the same spelling and different pronunciation and meaning are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that look the same but are not pronounced the same, and how to use them in sentences, because they are easily confused. The way the pronunciations and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling and misuse by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word tear meaning a liquid drop that falls from an eye is derived from the Old English word tear, meaning a drop or nectar; tear meaning to pull apart comes from the Old English word tearan, which means to lacerate. Heteronyms are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced differently but are spelled the same and come from a different etymology. They are often used in puns and riddles. When reading, it is sometimes difficult to know which word is being used in a sentence and how to pronounce the word phonetically. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check for these commonly confused words but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a heteronym in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Do not confuse heteronyms with homophones, which are two or more words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings like sow and sew; do not confuse them with homonyms, which are words that have the same spelling and pronunciation but different meanings like spring as in spring forth and spring as in the season of the year. Heteronyms are a type of homograph, which is a word that is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning. We will examine the definitions of the words live and live, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.

     

    Live (liiv) is a verb that means to be alive, to find a way to subsist, to engage with life in a certain way, to survive, to exist in a certain location. Related words are lives, lived, living. The word live is derived from the Old English word, lifian, which means to be alive.

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    Live (lighv) is an adjective that means to be alive or to be happening right now. For instance, a television program may be taped and broadcast later or it may be broadcast as it is happening, live. The adjective live is also used to describe an explosive that has not been detonated or an electrical wire that is connected to a source of power. The word live has been in use since the 1600s and is an abbreviation of the word, alive. The word lives is the plural of the word life.

    Examples

    All About the President’s Official Guest House, Where Kamala Harris Will Live Temporarily (People Magazine)

    A woman who has lived in a Humboldt Park church for three and a half years to avoid deportation returned home Saturday night to live with her family after President Joe Biden’s 100-day moratorium on deportations went into effect Friday. (Chicago Tribune)

    One big advantage of internet live TV, though, is that it can be turned on and off on a monthly basis, without contracts or equipment rentals to worry about. (Wall Street Journal)

    Now, almost a year later, a vaccine is slowly making its way across the country, and with it comes hope for the return of live music enjoyed standing side-by-side, without social distancing, without masks. (Omaha Reader)


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