I’m a bit of a word nerd. I’m sure you’d never guess it by the way I write or the way I speak. I used to read the dictionary as a kid. I mostly paid attention to the pronunciation of words and not the definitions, which is evidenced by my vocabulary. For example, the t in “often” is silent. That means you don’t pronounce it. Reading pronunciations is also what I attribute to my nearly non-existent Southern accent. “Accent”, by the way, is a word that I cannot say without my southern accent, as is “caterpillar”. I like to call them calerpillars.

On to the point:

Homophone: Words that sound alike but are spelled differently (to, two, too; there & their; read & red)

Homograph: Words that are spelled the same but have a different meaning and/or pronunciation (Today I read a book about etiquette. & Tomorrow I will read some more books. ; Please tie my ribbon in a bow. I bow at the waist to touch my toes.)

Homonym: Words that are spelled and pronounced alike, but have a different meaning. (pool–of water & pool–your resources; bow–at the waist & bow–of a ship


Cousins are great fun: family enough to make you feel normal, but different enough to still like them. I know you all have had the conversation at some point. And we all have used the terms incorrectly. So, let’s figure out the proper way to describe them.

It’s a generational issue.

First (2nd, 3rd, etc) cousin: Children of your parents’ siblings are your first cousins. That’s the easy part, right? Your first cousins’ children are your second cousins (light bulb!). Your second cousins’ children are your third cousins, and so on.

Once removed (twice, three times removed, etc.): Your first cousin once removed is your parents’ first cousin. The children of your first cousin once removed are your second cousins once removed.

Is all that clear?

For those of you in my family, here’s an example:

Kim is my first cousin. Her daughter, Olivia, is my second cousin. My mom’s first cousin, Betty, is my first cousin once removed.

For those of you in Nathan’s family:

Michael G. is your first cousin. His daughter, is your second cousin. Dad’s first cousin, Tim, is your first cousin once removed.

For all the rest of you, I hope the other descriptions help.

Have fun this weekend. Maybe, whip out a dictionary and learn how to pronounce some words. It’s a rip, roaring, good time.