Mark and marque are two 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. 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; 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, 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. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words mark and marque, the word origin of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.
A mark is a spot or blemish on the surface of something, a figure or line that denotes something on a map or document, a sign or symbol, an indication of information. Mark may refer to the grade a student earns in his course or on an assignment. Mark is also used as a verb to mean to make a sign, symbol, spot or blemish. Mark is also used in a slang manner to mean the intended victim of a criminal, particularly a swindler. The word mark is derived from the Old English word mearc, which means boundary or landmark.
Marque is primarily a British word that means the brand of a product, most especially the brand of a car, or the emblem of a product, most especially a car. Originally, the word marque was used in the term letter of marque, which was a license that allowed a citizen to seize merchant ships belonging to other nations. The word marque is probably derived from the Old French word marca, meaning reprisal.
He really left his mark and entire heart on the dance floor, and I think America saw that. (People Magazine)
But Pelosi announced that while Judiciary would mark up articles of impeachment, it would not conduct the hearings. (Washington Examiner)
Since its U.S. debut in 2011, it has been a fashion-forward beauty marque for the brand, more like a sporty coupe than a utility vehicle. (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
The German automobile marque, Volkswagen, which is a part of the sprawling Volkswagen Group, is one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers. (Republic World)