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Slips-ups: Confusing continuous forms

BY: Junior Graphic

There are some words in the English language whose continuous forms are confused with the continuous forms of other words, but the two may not have anything to do with each other.

I am here talking about pairs of words such as:

hoping/hopping

wining/winning

caning/canning

scraping/scrapping

tiling/tilling

doling/dolling

planing/planning

filing/filling

etc.

Among these pairs of words, all of which are verbs in the continuous tense, no pair has the same root of verb.

Hoping is the continuous form of the verb hope, while hopping is the continuous form of the verb hop.

Wining is the continuous form of the verb wine, while winning is the continuous form

of the verb win.

Again, caning comes from the verb cane, with canning coming from the verb can.

Scraping comes from the verb scrape, while scrapping comes from the verb scrap.

Tiling is the continuous form of the verb tile, with tilling being the continuous form of

the verb till.

Doling is from the verb dole, while dolling is from the verb doll.

The continuous form planning is from the verb plane, while planning is from the verb plan.

The word filing is the continuous form of the verb file, while filling is the continuous form of the verb fill.

The first thing we must know about these pairs of words is that none of the pairs has anything in common as far as meaning is concerned — they just happen to have similar pronunciation.

Therefore, they can never be used interchangeably. Imagine writing:

The teachers were canning the troublesome children

when you intended to write:

The teachers were caning the troublesome children.

Or:

We are hopping to see a new maths teacher soon when we meant to write:

We are hoping to see a new maths teacher soon.

(To be continued).