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Pair, pear or pare?

14 Dec

It’s homonym time in Libro Towers, with this classic easily confused trio …

A pair is a set of two things which are joined together or otherwise considered as a unit – including people or animals which are considered together – a pair of naughty boys; a pair of horses used to pull a carriage; a pair of wires twisted together to conduct your home phone signal.

A pear is an edible fruit or the tree that bears that fruit.

To pare (notice that this one’s a verb where the others are nouns) is to trim something by cutting the outer edges off, so you might pare an apple to take the skin off – it also has a more metaphorical meaning around reducing or diminishing something in stages rather than all at once, like taking the outer then inner layers off a piece of fruit, so you might pare down staffing levels gradually rather than sacking everyone at once.

So, if you had two pieces of fruit and you wanted to remove the skin from them, you might pare a pair of pears!

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing

 

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One response to “Pair, pear or pare?

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