Gee Whiz (and H Too)!



Image by Robert Maciołek from Pixabay
Is it gibe? Or jibe? Is that even a word? Or jive? Isn’t that a dance?? Find out below in this installment of confusing word pairs and groups — G and H words.

Gibe/Jibe/Jive –  Gibe is a verb or noun meaning to taunt (or a taunt or sarcastic remark). However, it can also be spelled jibe. Jibe, however, does have another meaning, its most common one: to agree with or be in harmony with. And yes, jive is a type of early jazz music, or a ballroom dance.


The bully would gibe me every day on my way home from school.
Her story jibes with his, so I believe it to be true.
Jive was popular when my mom was a kid, and she still loves it. 


Good/Well – This again? Good is an adjective. Well, is an adverb. So, good is used to describe nouns, generally, and well is used modify verbs: She is a good baby. I did well on the test. There are a couple of exceptions: After verbs of sense or being, we use adjectives – It tastes good. And well can be used to define a state of health – I feel well.


You did a good job on the project.
You did well on that project.
That project looks good.


Gorilla/Guerilla – Gorillas are at the zoo.  Guerilla is a type of warfare usually featuring fast-moving, small-scale actions.


My son’s favorite part of the zoo was always the gorilla exhibit.
The small terrorist group used guerilla tactics.


Got/Have – Got is the past tense of get, to receive something. It isn’t used instead of have, which means to own or possess something. We don’t got any is incorrect. The correct sentence is We don’t have any.  


Every year I get a new doll for my birthday. Last year I got a doll from Argentina.
I don’t have any money. Do you have any?


Hanged/Hung – These words are both past tenses of the verb hang, but are not interchangeable. Hanged is used only when there is a noose involved. 


He had tried committing suicide with pills, but then he finally hanged himself.
I hung my new painting in the living room. 


Healthful/Healthy – Who uses healthful, anyway? Most of the time we (or at least I) just use healthy for everything, but there is a distinction. Healthful refers to something that provides you with good health, such as kale. Healthy refers to possessing good health.


I drink a healthful smoothie every morning for breakfast.
I exercise and eat right to stay healthy.


Hoard/Horde – Both words deal with quantity, but in different ways. To hoard is to save things, sometimes secretly.  Hoard as a noun is a collection of things.  A horde is a large group of people.


She hoards chocolate and hides it under her bed.
Hordes of people stood in line to vote.


Home/Hone – Home is where you live — or to return to where you live or to familiar surroundings, as a verb. Hone is to improve or sharpen a skill.


The hot air balloon eventually homed in to the general location from where it took off.
Over time she honed her baking skills until she could make any cake you asked for.


However – Obviously, we don’t have any trouble using however in the correct place. However, do you ever need a semicolon before it rather than just a comma? Yup. How do you know? Well, if it appears at the beginning of your sentence, you follow it with a comma. If it appears in the middle of your sentence, it could require a semicolon before it rather than just a comma. How do you know? Take out your however. Do you now have a complete sentence? Or, do you have two sentences? If you have a complete sentence on each side of the however, you need a semicolon (or even a period).


You can call me; however, I usually don’t answer the phone. 
You can call me. However, I usually don’t answer the phone.
I will, however, answer the phone if I know it is you calling. 


Next week, we will do the quiz on these words (with a few more thrown in for good measure). 

Remember the post about contronyms? Well, in two weeks, I will have more types of -nyms for you. Homonyms, synonyms, antonyms? They are old hat!

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