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Grammar Police Monday - Bovines, Bods & Blue Ribbons

Vein vs Vane vs Vain
Vein (n.) is one of many vessels forming the path for blood returning to the heart; tissue forming the framework of a leaf; a clearly defined stratum of ore, etc.

Phlebotomists draw blood by puncturing a vein.

Vane (n.) is a blade, fin, or plate on a fan, turbine, etc., that moves or is moved by water, steam or air.

A weather vane indicates the direction of the wind.

Vain (adj.) excessively proud of one's self; conceited; without real value or importance; worthless; futile.

You're so vain, you probably think this example is about you
(Ha! Couldn't resist. :P)

She did everything she could to stop the fire from spreading, but her efforts were in vain.

Fair vs Fare
Fair (adj./adv.) means free from bias or dishonesty; proper according to the rules.

"I don't like him," Billy said. "He doesn't play fair."

Fair can also refer to an assembling of goods, rides, and or livestock.

We went to the county fair.

And while were on the subject, fair also means moderate; average. 
So does the word middling.
Thus the saying fair to middling, which means so-so.

Fare (n.) is the price of passage on some form of conveyance (bus, train, plane, cab...). It can also be used to refer to the person paying.

The man stood in line to pay the bus fare.
The cabby kept glancing at his fare in the rear-view mirror.

Fare (n.) can mean food; dietand in it's verb form, to eat and drink.

The hungry ranch hands were served hearty fare.
They fared on potatoes, bacon, toast, and eggs.

(Note: This might be a good place to stop and review hearty vs. hardy
Those two are easy to mix up.)

Let's pause for a gratuitous handsome hunk image.

I wouldn't mind cooking for him. :)

Ahem. Back to GPM...

Fare (n.) can also refer to non-food items that are consumed.

Horror novels are not my usual literary fare.

Fare (v.) means to experience good or bad fortune (probably the most common verb usage you'll see).

Most of the orphans fared well once they were adopted.


That's all for today.

Thanks for visiting. :) 


  1. GPM! I've missed you, my fault. But I'm glad I didn't miss hotty today! His contribution to your post will not be in vain. ;)

  2. I have to say it's pretty funny the way homophones can crop up in people's ms's. I find reign/rein one of the funnier ones. And site/sight is hilarious! Your examples are all ones I see often too. :)

  3. Puncturing veins with vanes is so vain, and it isn't fair to charge a fare for doing so. Did I get it right, write or rite? ;-)

  4. Love the reference to the Carly Simon song. Now I'll be singing that all day. Probably showing my age there LOL.

  5. I'm good with those. Now, where's the gratuitous sexy woman photo?

  6. Thanks for the handsome hunk!
    Oh, yeah, and for the grammar lesson, too :)

  7. I like how you spiced up our grammar lesson today!
    This might be an older usage, but I think 'fair' could also be used to describe someone (especially a young woman) as attractive.
    (And I admit I scrolled up one more time to check out the dude. ;) )

  8. I think I might have to do an etymology post on fair and fare because I want to know where all those different definitions came from. Man, words can be so weird sometimes.

  9. Does Officer Grammar (the shirtless dude) have an outie bellybutton, or am I looking at it wrong? LOL

  10. Well, that was some hardy looking fare--well, at least until I got to his face--which wasn't and made me laugh heartily.

    Some good reminders, Melissa.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

  11. LOL. Nice addition to the grammar reminders! It's like a reward for all of that hard work... mmm...

  12. LOL! I love homonyms. My kids are just learning about them and we have all kinds of interesting conversations playing with different meanings.

  13. What about fair in regards to beauty? Would it be appropriate to call the young man pictured fair? If not... drats. I've been using it wrong. >_<

  14. Loved. Really loved "You're so vain...this example..." Got an audible chuckle out of that one.

    And your gratuitous hunk shot. LOL. Funny stuff mixed in with the serious...good going. :) Enjoyed this GPM, Melissa.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

  15. I just have to say that my late grandma was an English teacher and she would have loved you for this post. ^_^

  16. Nice post, Melissa! Whenever I hear the word homophone, I immediately hear Larry the Cucumber singing the homophone song where he does an accordion solo.

    And can I just say, YUM!! That lovely picture made my day!

  17. Oh, a very nice little mid-grammar interruption indeed. :)

  18. I don't think I even knew vane!


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