Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WORDY WEDNESDAY: Write, Right, Rite, and Wright



In my complete language arts books, I have a weekly lesson called "Wacky Words." When I began writing language arts books for a different publisher fourteen years ago, I did not have this section in my books. 

Then I began testing...and testing...and testing...my materials. As I tested them, I discovered that even mature writers have difficulties with homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings). Then along came message boards, email groups, and FaceBook, and I discovered EVERYBODY has trouble with homophones. From these experiences, the Wacky Word lessons were born.

This week I was thinking of the plays that our daughter is directing for a community youth program called The Young Playwrights. I have seen the word playwrights before, but this week, it struck me that we do not have that word in our Wacky Word lessons with write, right, and rite.

Then, of course, I thought more (thinking is what I do!) and wondered why, if the children are writing plays, the term is not playwrite. So...that takes us to this Wordy Wednesday/Wacky Word post!

The picture above gives us some idea of why the word is playwright and not playwrite. The picture is of a wheelwright shop--that is, a shop in which one crafts wheels.

Though the word "wright" is most commonly associated with crafting with wood (wheelwright), the word "wright" is used in other contexts to indicate crafting or creating as well:

playwright
wheelwright
shipwright
millwright
wainwright



In that way, a playwright is not simply "writing" a play, but he or she is "crafting" something--perhaps he or she is even meticulously creating the script, like a wheelwright meticulously creates wheels.

So our four "Wacky Words" for "Wordy Wednesday" can be remembered with the following tips:

1. Write--to pen or scribe the written word

2. Right--correct; opposite of wrong; from the fight, might, light family, phonetically speaking

3. Rite--a ritual or ceremony; a rite of passage (This makes the Rite-Aid stores all spelled wrong--unless they mean "aid" for a ceremony or passage, which I don't think they mean. I think they want to say that their stores give the "right" kind of aid/assistance.)

4. Wright--a crafter, especially of wooden creations    

 

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