Sometimes, poetry may help you with homophones.

But outer Space,
At least this far,
For all the fuss
Of the populace,
Stays more popular
Than populous

— Robert Frost

This little poem often runs through my head when I see someone use the wrong homophone, usually writing populous instead of populace. (Grace says the local Creative Anachronists call their monthly gatherings populous meetings in Facebook posts, but they’re not: only about half the group bothers to show up. 🙂 )

Anyway, if you have trouble remembering the difference between populous (meaning containing a lot of people) and populace (meaning people, collectively), this poem is only nineteen words long and may help you keep these words straight if you memorize it.


About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have eight cats. I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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6 Responses to Sometimes, poetry may help you with homophones.

  1. Poetry helps you with everything!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. alicegristle says:

    Times like this, I feel blessed at having learned English as a second language. Then, at other times, I mess up all my adpositions… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. J.R. Handley says:

    I enjoyed that poem, thank you for sharing it!

    And if you haven’t already, can you do a grammar post about the use of comma’s before the word AND? Word’s grammar check is extremely unhelpful with this, as there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: …more popular than “populace”… | North of Andover

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