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Raven vs raven


  • Raven
    and raven 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 raven and raven, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.

     

    A raven (RAY vun) is a large black bird that belongs to the Corbus genus, which includes crows, magpies, jays, choughs, nutcrackers, treepies, rooks, and jackdaws. Ravens are highly intelligent and have exhibited corporative behaviors between themselves and other species but are also known for mischievous behavior with the goal of simply having fun. Ravens are omnivorous and may scavenge or hunt. The word raven is also used as an adjective to describe something that is sleek and dark. The word raven is derived from the Old English word, hræfn.

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    Raven (RAA vun) is a verb that means to eat in a greedy manner, to hunt stealthily for food, to devour. Related words are ravens, ravened, ravening, ravener, ravenous. The word raven is derived from the the Latin rapina, which means plundering.

    Examples

    Prior to choosing a mate, juvenile ravens usually roam around in “teenage gangs,” subsisting in large flocks until they can establish their own territories. (Vail Daily News)

    Just as the sun was starting to set, huge flocks of ravens began landing on the 500kV towers to roost for the night. (Great Falls Tribune)

    Charlie is a hothead and a brute—the stronger partner, you’d say, were he not ravened by a weakness for booze. (New Yorker)

    Sharks are ‘ravening’, ‘unpitying’, ‘death-devouring’, with ‘jewel-hilted’ mouths full of ‘crunching teeth’. (London Review of Books)


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