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Fate vs fete

  • Fate and fete are two words that are pronounced in the same way when sp0ken aloud but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. 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. 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 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. We will examine the definitions of the words fate and fete, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.


     

    Fate may mean the direction of the events in one’s life by a higher power or a supernatural power. Fate may also mean the final outcome in one’s life or a situation, one’s destiny. Fate may also mean the expected result of a situation, beyond one’s control. Fate is used as a noun or a verb, related words are fated, fating. In ancient Greek mythology, the Fates were three goddesses who guided the destinies of humans. These Fates were known as Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. They were tasked with spinning and allotting the thread of human life and cutting the thread at death. Note that this use of the word is capitalized, as in Fates. The word fate is derived from the Latin word fatum, meaning that which has been spoken, specifically spoken by the gods.

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    Fete means a festival, particularly a lavish or outdoor festival or celebration. Fete may be used as a noun or a verb, meaning to celebrate, entertain or honor someone. Related words are fetes, feted, feting. Fete is a loanword from French, an anglicization of the word fête. Loanwords and loan phrases are terms that have been taken from other languages and used as English words and phrases. Another term for a loanword is a borrowed word. Loanwords and loan phrases come into the English language when English speakers come into contact with other languages and cultures. When loanwords and loan phrases first enter the English language, they are used by bilingual speakers and usually maintain the original pronunciation from the source language. As other English speakers adopt the loanwords and loan phrases, the pronunciation may change to incorporate sounds more in keeping with the English speakers’ accents. A foreign word evolves into a loanword when it is adopted into the vocabulary of the average English speaker, not just English speakers who come into contact with the source language and culture.

    Examples

    The fate of the test formerly known as PARCC remains up in the air as a vote in Senate committee to amend graduation requirements related to standardized tests was delayed Monday. (The Press of Atlantic City)

    The fate of a Southern Living hotel on North College Street in downtown Auburn hangs in the balance, as developers attempt to iron out a deal this week while the city of Auburn grows increasingly impatient with delaying the construction of a planned public parking deck any further. (The Auburn Villager)

    From a small fete at the col­lege back in 2010 with just a few hun­dred pa­trons, PRES­tige has grown to be­come a cal­en­dar event for Car­ni­val. (The Guardian)

    A MAN who was returning from the Xperience fete at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Saturday was fined $11,000 for driving under the influence of alcohol. (The Trinidad and Tobago Press)


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