Why Write Wrong? # 8

Hard to believe I’ve already been a member here at Story Empire for seven months! Seems like just yesterday I joined the group.


Funny, though. It’s also been seven months since I got put on house arrest by my doctor. One of these scenarios has passed by a lot more quickly than the other! 😀 Huh. Perspective is everything, isn’t it? 😀


Today, I’m continuing with my #WhyWriteWrong? series. This is the eighth one I’ve shared, and I wish I could find a way to connect that to my opening comments, but alas. I’m not coming up with a thing. 😦 Therefore, I’ll just jump right into today’s trio of words that sound alike, but are spelled differently, and mean very different things. In other words, these three words are homophones.


Ahem. Way, way back, when I was a child (more than 65 years ago), we’d often visit my aunt’s house for a few days. That meant making sleeping arrangements for several extra kids. My mother and my aunt would throw down some quilts or blankets on the floor, add an extra pillow, and voila. We slept on what the grown ups called a pallet. Imagine my surprise a few short years later to find out that there were two more words that sounded just like that one, but meant totally different things. Now, I suspect most of you are aware of what each of these words mean, generally, but the trick is to spell them correctly for the use you have in mind.

So, let’s take a look at Pallet, Palette, and Palate. (Why, oh why does English torment us in this manner?) 

 First up, that pile of blankets on the floor, where I spent many a sleepover giggling away the night with my cousins. That would be pallet, and here are both definitions for this version of the word.

PALLET (Two Ls, one T)




1. A straw mattress or crude, makeshift bed, often just blankets on the floor. 




2. A flat transport structure which supports goods in a stable fashion while being lifted by a forklift.




PALETTE (One L, two Ts)


1. A thin board or slab on which an artist lays and mixes colors.




2.The range of colors used by a particular artist or in a particular painting. (Sometimes the VERY WIDE range of colors used by a particular artist. 😀 )




3.Less common, the range or variety of tonal or instrumental “color” in a musical piece.





PALATE (One L, One T, Two As)


1. The roof of the mouth, separating the cavities of the nose and the mouth in vertebrates.




2. A person’s appreciation of taste and flavor, especially when sophisticated and discriminating. “The gourmet cuisine is perfect for sophisticated palates.”




Try as I might, I wasn’t able to come up with any amusing tidbits for those of you with a palate for such humor. (Groan) Regardless, I hope these clarifications have been helpful for some of you. Mostly, it’s just going to be a matter of remembering which way to spell the word in the context of your subject matter.

Was this useful for some of you? Do you have confusion with other words that give you problems? Or have you often spotted some of these errors in books you read?  Please share your thoughts or questions below because, as always, inquiring minds wanna know. 😀

And with that, I’ll wish you all happy hearts and colorful palettes with which to create your written images! Definitely the best way to go!

I am not an English teacher, grammarian, or expert on all matters of this nature. I don’t even play one on TV! But I promise I have consulted with those in the know before posting anything in this series.

(All images above were created by me or obtained from Pixabay.

63 thoughts on “Why Write Wrong? # 8

  1. Seven months? Wow, that went quickly! I’m happy to report I knew these wrongs and haven’t (that I know of) succumbed to their evil. Could be funny though if they got mixed up (trying to think of something about paint on the painter’s palate)…. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • The seven months here did, Jess, but the seven months at home definitely did not. I will be thrilled to get my life back. Wasting precious days and weeks and months is not my idea of a good time, and it was surprisingly hard to write during it all. Stress and worry, I guess. (I excel at those. Straight A student. Master’s degree in hand.)

      Yes, paint on the palate would NOT be tasty. Eeeww. Glad to know this trio is one you’ve managed to avoid mixing up. It’s tricky, for sure. But that’s English for ya! Thanks for stopping by today, my friend. Always good to see you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re SO right about finding it difficult to write in times like this. While I’ve been home recuperating from my op, I’ve had the perfect chance to write… and I’ve gotten exactly zero words down. Just no motivation to do it even though the physical time is there. Weird.

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  2. I remember reading an official report on the diet of hospital mental health inpatients talking about how their “palette” had been affected by their medication. I was appalled but I don’t think that many other people noticed, although I cringed every time it came up. I remember a writer who shared an ARC copy of a book and wrote peddler when he was referring to a bicycle’s pedal… Mind you, not being a native English speaker, pronunciation can be very challenging. (I remember being very puzzled at the name of a town I heard on the radio called “Toaster” until I came to realise, much later, that it was how “Towcester” was pronounced). Thanks for the reminder, Marcia!

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    • Ah, those Brits and their pronunciations. I mean have you ever looked up how Worcestershire Sauce is pronounced? Hahaha. I would imagine pronunciation would be one of the hardest things with learning any unfamiliar language, Olga. Of course, it doesn’t have to be an unfamiliar language for writers to make many of these common errors. I hope these posts help folks understand the proper usage of many tricky words, even if pronouncing them isn’t always easy. 😀 Thanks so much for stopping by today, and taking a moment to comment. Always good to see you! 🙂


  3. I’d never come across a pallet as a makeshift bed before – you live and learn! Many thanks for clarifying these in your usual clear and witty way. My perennial anxiety is about the correct use of -ent and -ant. I can’t find a simple way to remember them and, even when I’m pretty certain I have the correct ending I still feel th need to check with a dictionary. 😀

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    • I agree 100% on “ent” and “ant.” I mentioned below that I NEVER know whether it’s “ence” or “ance” so I’m there with you on the same thing. 😀 And thanks for your kind comments about this series, Trish. I really enjoy doing these, and since these kinds of errors often pop up in books, even books by BNAs (Big Name Authors), I enjoy making note and sharing them here. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a moment to comment. I really appreciate it! 🙂


  4. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    Just a heads up folks–I’ve been over on Story Empire today, too, with another post in my Why Write Wrong series. Hope you’ll swing by to check it out! Sorry I’m late letting you know, but I hope you’ll find time tonight or tomorrow to visit and share. Thanks so much! 🙂 ❤


    • Thanks, Sue. Glad to know that! And I agree. When you’re in another world, talking to your characters or following them around, you aren’t focused on spelling or usage. I think it’s good, though, to recognize words that give us trouble, and be extra cautious with those during revisions, etc. Thanks for stopping by today! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is helpful. It’s always hard to remember which spelling is the correct one, but it’s always good to remember that it’s one of those words you have to be careful with.

    I always had a problem with desert and dessert. I wrote about that and a friend commented, “perhaps it would be helpful to remember remember dessert has two tees.” Of course, it doesn’t, but I’ve never had a problem remembering which one to use since then. I think about it, I laugh and I’m good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha. I love it. And if remembering that triggers thoughts of the two “esses,” then I think it works like a charm! 😀 Yes, it’s a good idea to recognize words we have trouble with, so we’re extra careful to get them right. And nice to see you here today, Dan. I’ll remember your friend’s helpful advice when I’m stuck on dessert/desert next time. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Marcia,

    Great selection, but I must comment on using PALLET”s first and second meanings (Second being the same as the second meaning in PALETTE in my poetry book MY MAINE…. I deliberated about this over and over again before publishing the book and that was my final decision (being a retired teacher I would use this as a teaching moment on synonyms and multiple meaning and the importance of finding just the right word). Here are the two haiku poems from the section Falling Leaves:

    Golds and magentas
    Vivid splashes among greens
    A princely pallet

    Dusky brown pallets
    Shivering for good reason
    Fronds on frozen ground

    Would love to hear you thoughts on this…


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Bette! Nice to see you here today. All I can say (as a non-teacher) is that I tend to go by the dictionary. Merriam-Webster defines pallet like I did above: primitive beds or the wooden thingies (technical term 😀 ) pictured, with no other options. I checked every dictionary I could find, but didn’t see anywhere “pallet” was used to refer to colors and hues of any kind. I can’t be sure every dictionary in the world agrees, of course, but that’s all I’ve found, so far. To me, it looks like you are referring to the color palette (or hues and tones of color) so for myself, I’d probably have chosen “palette.” But either way, they are your poems , and quite lovely ones, too. If you’re happy with them, then that’s what counts most, my friend. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the input, Marcia… Random House Webster;s College Dictionary is my go-to. Just checked the it’s meaning 4. painter’s palette. If I had it to do over again, I think it would have been wise to get outside opinion. 🙂 Thanks so much for yours. I do enjoy your Why Write Wrong? segment–great reminders and shares. xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting, isn’t it? Since Merriam-Webster doesn’t include that, and a whole bunch of others I found online, including Cambridge, etc, all show only the two definitions, and include a warning that it’s often confused with “palette.”

        See? I knew I should have read every dictionary in the world. 😀 😀 😀 At any rate, you have precedence in your usage, but I would definitely recommend caution when using these two interchangeably, if for no other reason than many would see it as an error, and would find that confirmed in most dictionaries. That’s just my personal opinion, of course, but I understand why you went a different direction. And your poems are still lovely, regardless! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Marcia, half the time we don’t speak the same language! I try to be sure I can be understood on both sides of the pond, but…
    We say “purse” meaning a small thing that may contain coins, notes, and credit cards. In the USA, you mean what we would call a handbag – shoulder bags and knapsacks abound in my books.
    Even worse is “mobile”, short for mobile phone… yes, the cell phone, or simply “cell”.
    I even run into trouble with over-the-counter headache tablets!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heck, Sarah, we in the south don’t speak the same language as those in the north, either, and we’re in the same country. 😀 I grew up calling purses/handbags “pocketbooks.” 😀 I still say that more often than anything else. But you are so right in that common names for everyday items vary from country to country, and over here, from region to region. In the south, we don’t take out the rubbish like they did when I lived in Pennsylvania. We take out the garbage. Not to be confused with the trash, which is usually paper products, etc. The list goes on and on, but since I was born and raised in the south, I speak Southernese pretty much exclusively, though I have managed to learn enough to understand books written by those who don’t. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I featured an American character in one book. He was an important POV character, so I asked an American author to check and correct anything he wouldn’t say or think. She very kindly did, but she was shocked when I told her a phrase like “and all that shit”, meaning all the rest, I gather, was swearing in the UK, and she’d made the poor young man use it to his father-in-law-to-be. A man who disapproved of swearing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s actually swearing over here, too–or at least vulgar–but usually considered pretty mild. I don’t use it too often in my own books, and (hahaha) I try to limit vulgarities to the characters I don’t like much, and not even too often for them. While I get a surprising amount of 20-30 year old readers and middle-aged men at my events, my target audience is more likely women over 40-ish and a lot of my local readers are much older than that. I try to be kind to them. 😀 However, there are situations and characters where you just can’t realistically have them get mad and say “Oh, heck!” I just try to use restraint. 😀 But what’s pretty bad here and what’s pretty bad over the pond are often two different things. 😀 It’s a learning experience for sure. 😀


  8. This is another excellent clarification post, Marcia! The English language is so full of words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings. One of my favorite things in school was participating in Spelling Bees. I won a few of them and lost a few, but have always had a fascination with words. I still do. No big surprise. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have a love of words, too, Jan, which is why I love doing this little monthly series, I guess. They fascinate me, enchant me, scare me, amuse me, and entertain me endlessly. There will definitely be more of these over time. 🙂 Thanks so much for dropping in and commenting today! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Well, now that you see them, you’ll probaby remember to double check when using one of them. That’s what I have to do with words I know I have problems remembering. It’s sort of automatic with me to be certain I got it right. My spelling overall is pretty good, but some words just drive me crazy. 😀 Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Judi. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly why we need proofers and editors. Plus, it helps to know what our “problem” words are, so we can remind ourselves to double check them. It’s easy to get confused on these three, for sure, and you are so right about Spellcheck. It’s a big help, but not if you’ve correctly spelled a word but used it wrong. Thanks for stopping by today, Craig. I know you’re swamped, so I really appreciate your taking the time to comment. 🙂

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    • I love words, Yvette, as most anyone who communicates with me knows. (I can’t even write a short email, let alone a short novel!) 😀 So I really enjoy putting together these Why Write Wrong posts to help others avoid common mistakes in usage, or in this case, in spelling. Glad you enjoyed it and learned a new definition or two. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I used to think English was the hardest language until I started Spanish lessons. Objects are either masculine or feminine. Where as we would say “the pass” it’s el paso in Spanish because pass is masculine. If it was feminine it would be la pasa. Why assign a gender to objects? Oh well, off my rant.

    I’ve slept on a pallet many times. Hadn’t really thought about the difference in the other two, probably because I don’t normally write them.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, I’ve often wondered who decided which nouns were feminine and which were masculine, when it comes to words where the item really has no gender at all. Like you folks in Texas, Florida has a lot of Spanish-speaking citizens, especially where I lived for many years–in Tampa. It confused me then, and still does today, so I know exactly where you’re coming from. Makes no sense. Nada. (See what I did there? 😀 )

      I think English is probably just as crazy, just in different ways. Especially pronunciation. But like all languages, it’s in a constant state of flux as new words are added and old ones fade away. Thanks for taking a moment to rant. I mean, comment. 😀 😀 😀

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    • Marcia, you’ve struck on one of my problem words. I know the meaning of each of these, but I ALWAYS have to stop and look up the spelling when I want to use palette. Strangely, I use that word frequently on my day job. Another one that gives me grief is mantle and mantel. I use mantel a lot on the day job (real estate marketing) but always have to double check myself to make certain I have the spelling right!

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      • While I have the trio of pallet words down pretty solidly, I can NEVER remember whether it’s mantle or mantel! That’s another ending like “ence” and “ance” that just will not stick in my mind, either, Mae, so I can sympathize with you. I mean those two are even pronounced the same, so why can’t we just cut to the chase and SPELL them the same? 😀

        I don’t know any way to be sure the pallet/palette/palate thing sticks in your mind, either, but at least you are aware that it’s one you need to double check. If nothing else, I hope these posts will remind writers of words that can trip them up if they aren’t very careful.

        Thanks so much for your comment today! 🙂

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    • I’m not going to say I’ve never misused a word, because I’m pretty sure we all have at one time or another, but that’s why a good editor is so important. It’s very distracting to be reading along and have something jump out at you and pull you right out of the story. Just a week or so ago, I saw (yet again) someone say “he pulled on the reigns.” We all type things like that when we’re involved in the process of getting the story down, but should catch it in revision or editing before publication. That’s where I hope this little monthly series will come in handy. Thanks for stopping by today, Sarah! 🙂

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  10. Thank you, Marcia, for this insightful post. English can be so confounding. I’ve probably spelled all three of your examples incorrectly over the years — even though wooden pallets were common on our farm, and mom’s old palettes have become treasures. As for palate, well, I severely burned mine on freshly-pulled vinegar taffy as a kid, but I’m certain I would have described it as a pallet. Now that’s an interesting image! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wait. Vinegar taffy? Really? I never heard of that before, Gwen! But I’ve sure experienced a burned palate and tongue, and they hurt for a very long time. And I don’t think I’d like burning palettes, either. Dried paint and all. But worse would be burning pallets–the heaps of blankets kind, anyway. Urk. I agree about English, and that’s why I hope this series will help folks avoid some of these errors. Thanks for your comment. And sorry about the burned palate. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post today, Marcia. I’m hoping it’s your tenure with SE that’s gone the quickest!!! lols. These days, my brain refuses to get the i-before-the-e stuff right and wants to keep spelling beleive instead of believe (just had to retype that last one!) Even though I do know better, lols. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Harmony. And yes, my tenure with SE has flown by. Feels like I’ve always been part of the group, honestly. But the house arrest thing has been freakin’ miserable! SO lucky this is the age of technology and I can still keep in (virtual) touch with my friends and family, and can be involved in fun things like blogging! I have a lot of common words that I have to stop and think about all the time like your “believe.” With me, one of the things that drives me crazy is trying to remember whether words end in “ence” or “ance.” For some reason, I’ve lost that altogether and have to look up the word in question every time. (And I can’t even blame it on my concussion, because it’s bothered me for years.) I think the problem is I pronounce both the same, so I don’t even get a clue when I say the word out loud.
      Thanks for your comment, Harmony! 🙂 English is fun, huh? 😉

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    • I don’t know if it’s the hardest, but it sure is HUGELY confusing for many of us. Rains, reins, reigns? Things like this drive us all crazy, and can really be disruptive to readers. Too many errors can make some readers put the book down. At the very least, it doesn’t give them a flattering impression of the author. I once had a conversation with a gal who had just finished her first book about the same time I was working on mine. It was FILLED with errors of several types, spelling being the worst of them. When I gently (HONEST) pointed out to her that it could use a good proofreader at the least, she laughed and said (I swear!!), “I know, but it’s my first book. People expect a lot of mistakes.” Arrrggghhh. All I could think was it could very well be her last book if that was the approach she was choosing.

      Thanks for stopping by today, Jaye! Appreciate your comment! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ooops. Hope you can fix that one, and glad you caught it, Robbie. Yes, that would definitely change the meaning of your story. 😀 This is my 8th Why Write Wrong post, but I’ve been doing a second post each month most of the time, so have a few more under my belt. And each one is enjoyable to put together. Hope readers like them, too. Glad these three words pose no problems for you, Robbie! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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