Crews and cruise 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 crews and cruise, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.
Crews is the plural form of the word crew, which means a group of people working together on an airplane or ship, or any group of people who work together closely. Crew is also a verb that means to act as a member of a working crew. The word crew is derived from the Old French word creue, which referred to a group of soldiers. Related words are crew, crewed, crewing.
A cruise is a vacation trip taken on a ship. Cruise is also used as a verb to mean to sail on a ship, to take a vacation on a ship, to walk about in a casual manner, or to look for a casual sexual partner. The word cruise is derived from the Dutch word kruisen which means to sail back and forth. Related words are cruises, cruised, cruising, cruiser.
The proposal had been stalled by the Office of Management and Budget under Obama, and by top Department of Transportation officials, who said there was no evidence that two-member crews made trains safer. (The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
Crews will remain busy throughout the evening and into the coming days as they respond to reported fires. (The Blue Mountain Eagle)
The woman was a passenger aboard the Island Princess cruise ship, which was sailing near Bligh Island in the Prince William Sound at the time of the emergency. (Newsweek Magazine)
Cruise downtown Duncan with the local community in the summer’s first car cruise starting at 6 p.m. Friday, June 14, 2019, from 12th Street to 7th Street on Walnut Avenue and Main Street. (The Duncan Banner)