Days and daze 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 days and daze, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.
Days is the plural form of the noun day, which means a twenty-four-hour period that extends from one midnight to the next. A day may also mean the hours when the sun is up. The word day is derived from the Old English word dæg, which means the time when the sun is up.
A daze is a period of shock, a confused state in which a person does not think, act, or feel normal. Daze is also used as a verb to mean being in a state of shock or a confused state. Related words are dazes, dazed, dazing. The word daze is derived from the Old Norse word dasathr, which means weary.
Four days after 14 people were trapped for hours in a sweltering elevator car, another elevator failed in the same Philadelphia high-rise, trapping a restaurant employee for more than an hour. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Nine days after leaving prison, Apollo Nida of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fame has found his way back behind bars after violating unspecified parole terms while living in a halfway house in Philadelphia. (The Atlanta Journal Constitution)
“Any fighter will tell you, the punches you don’t see are the ones that will knock you out, buzz you or daze you.” (The Daily Express)
In an interview with the Free Press, Waters said after the explosion hit the MRAP he was dazed and thought he had fallen asleep. (The Detroit Free Press)