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Re Porter - Word mix-ups
bethany porter

Misunderstandings are always fun. The English language isn’t always helpful in preventing these misunderstandings either. There are over 6,000 homophones and over 6,000 homonyms in the English language. 

Homophones are words that are pronounced the same, but are written differently like “which” and “witch.” Homonyms may be words with identical pronunciations but different spellings and meanings or they may be words with both identical pronunciations and spellings like “glasses” you wear and “glasses” you drink out of.  This brings me to my fun little story.

A few years ago my sister and I went to my uncle’s house. We were sitting at the table and we had glasses of water. These were really fancy glass drinking glasses and I really liked them. I told my uncle I liked his glasses and took a drink. Coincidentally, my uncle had just gotten new eye glasses that same week. 

When I took a sip my mind started overthinking and I thought my uncle might think I liked his eye glasses and I meant his drinking glasses. His eye glasses were fine, don’t get me wrong, it’s just not what I meant. I then attempted to laugh and then aspirated the water. For anyone lucky enough to not know, aspirating is when you accidently breathe something into your lungs. 

I made some really concerning noises and had to just cough the water out of my lungs for several minutes. Would it have been the end of the world if my uncle thought I meant I liked his eye glasses? No. Was it funny enough for me to breathe water into my lungs on accident? Also no, but boy did I do that.

It was an unfortunately funny situation and thankfully I lived to explain what went wrong. From my uncle and sister’s perspective I was just choking. They didn’t know the hilarity of the word misunderstanding. 

Another fun misunderstanding happened when I was in Belize for Motlow soccer. My soccer team went to Belize to play its national team during my sophomore year of college and we stayed in a room with a little TV. A lot of us ended up in my room watching the movie “Get Out.” 

While we were watching the movie another teammate came in the room. She asked what we were watching and I told her, “Get Out.” Without context, she thought I told her to literally get out. She looked so hurt and shocked. I then realized what I said when she started to leave and explained it was the title of the movie. This was a movie misunderstanding that almost resulted in tears. Tears from my teammate’s feelings getting hurt and tears from the laugher that followed after the confusion cleared. 

I think about these instances a lot and I always laugh. I wish you could have seen the look of pure hurt when I told my teammate to get out or my family’s confusion while I was choking on a joke they didn’t hear. 

Standard reporter Bethany Porter can be reached at (931) 473-2191.