Append vs upend

Append and upend are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same, and homophones are commonly misused words. Said aloud, the difference is less important, because the words are pronounced the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones and understand the correct spelling; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the word pairs to, too and two, bridle and bridal, creek and creak, hoard and horde, toed and towed, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other and are easily confused and are commonly misused. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling 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 threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. 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. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Homophones are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words append and upend, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Append means to attach, to add, or to supplement something. Append is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are appends, appended, appending, appendix. The word append is derived from the Old French word, apendre, which means to be dependent upon.

Upend means to turn something upside down or to place something on its end. Upend is also a transitive verb; related words are upends, upended, upending. The word upend is a closed compound word dating from the early 1800s, formed by combining the words up and end. A closed compound word is a word that is made up of two words joined together without hyphens or spaces. 


The graceful response is surprise and denial, to which you can append the innocent observation that you did not think they ever felt entirely at home in your old house with its rickety heating and piping. (UExpress)

The Seattle Times does not append comment threads to stories from wire services such as the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post or Bloomberg News. (Seattle Times)

New lawsuit could upend state’s problematic pot shop licensing process — again (Chicago Sun-Times)

Her coronation came at the conclusion of three surreal days that saw the greatest ever gymnast withdraw and completely upend expectations of how the event would unfold. (Wall Street Journal)

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