Send three-and-fourpence*

Some time ago I was strug­gling to under­stand why a book I was edit­ing had so many homo­phone, or near-homo­phone, words, i.e., words which soun­ded like the right ones but were (per­fectly spelt) wrong ones. Even­tu­ally I came across two entire homo­phone phrases, again per­fectly spelt, which made no sense in the con­text when viewed as text, but when read aloud soun­ded cor­rect. I finally ‘twigged’ that the manu­script was the out­put of a com­pu­ter­ised dic­ta­tion sys­tem, and asked the author to apply some basic qual­ity con­trol to it. I won’t embar­rass him by quot­ing the examples here, but it’s an inter­est­ing syn­drome, and if you come across it I may have saved you some head-scratching.

* We’re going to a dance