Monday, June 15, 2009


Last week, my client and I had a recent discussion about usage of "hone" versus "home" when referring to zeroing in on something. He thought "home" was correct, whereas I was strongly in the "hone" camp. We looked up both words, and as of Friday, he seemed willing to concede that "hone" was correct for our context. Apparently, though, the issue still nagged at him, because I received an email from him this morning chock full of alternate definitions, usage guidelines and commentary from various sources--all arguing for the use of "home" instead of "hone."

Yet it was not the definitions, guidelines and commentary that swayed me--it was the sentence with which he began the email: "'Hone in' has evolved as a common mispronunciation of 'home in'--akin to saying ‘nucular’ instead of 'nuclear.'"

Consider me converted.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Oh, those twicky word wabbits!

Lori said...

I use hone. I'm wrong half the time, too. :)

Hone as in honing a knife blade. Home as in zeroing in on. Is that right?

When in doubt, I rewrite the sentence. LOL

Anne said...

I think of those words the same way Lori suggested -- you can hone an idea, sharpening it like a knife blade, or home in on something, narrowing focus to a single target. At least that's the implications of the words to me. I can see how those usages could overlap, however, and lead to confusion.

Amie said...

"Home" may be right, but "hone" still sounds better to my ears . . . unlike "nucular," which makes me want to punch a whole in somebody.

Lori said...

Yes, it sounds better to me, too. I use it. I rarely use "home" for what you've mentioned. It feels like you're saying "supposably" instead of "supposedly." :)