Air vs err

Air and err are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words air and err, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Air is the invisible substance that surrounds Earth that consists of oxygen, nitrogen, and other invisible gases. Air may also refer to the space located above Earth. Air takes on a figurative meaning when describing a distinctive quality or when it is used to mean a simple tune. Air is used as a verb to mean to give expression to or to ventilate something. Related words are airs, aired, airing. The word air is one of the top one thousand most frequently used words in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary; it is derived from the Greek word, aēr, which means atmosphere.

Err means to make a mistake, to commit an error, to miscalculate, to go against accepted standards. Related words are errs, erred, erring. The word err is derived from the Old English word, ierre, which means straying.

Examples

A Virginia man’s Airbnb stay took a spine-tingling turn after he discovered a creepy concealed room behind his air vent. (New York Post)

Made by Watergen, the devices extract drinking water from the air itself, and can provide up to 800 liters of fresh water per day. (Jerusalem Post)

The court found a judge didn’t err in ruling drivers entering the refinery were free to carry on without hearing full union message. (Regina Leader-Post)

Bilgic says analysts commonly err in separating Turkey’s expansion into sub-Saharan Africa – which seems to be mainly about trade, aid and investment – from its geopolitical interests in North Africa, particularly Egypt and Libya. (Daily Maverick)