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He’d vs heed

  • He’d and heed are two commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way when spoken aloud but are spelled differently and mean different things, which makes them homophones. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language, and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the words to, too and two, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other. 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. 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, 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. We will examine the definitions of the two homophonic words he’d and heed, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.


     

    He’d is a contraction of the words he and had or the words he and would. He’d is not a contraction that is used as commonly as contractions such as can’t or wouldn’t. A contraction is an abbreviated word formed by removing a letter or multiple letters from a longer word or phrase. The omitted letters are replaced by an apostrophe.

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    Heed means to pay attention, to take notice. Heed may be used as a noun or a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are heeds, heeded, heeding. The word heed is derived from the Old English word hedan, which means to take charge of or to protect something.

    Examples

    Why Trump’s reelection bid isn’t as solid as he’d like you to believe (The Washington Post)

    ‘He’d like to see peace on Earth’: how a dog became mayor of a California town (The Guardian)

    Some women don’t heed warnings of acne drug danger during pregnancy conception (Reuters)

    Boris Johnson you must heed what your hero Churchill said: ‘Your life has been but preparation for this hour’ (The Sun)


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