I Have Questions

This post is about declaring that I am a student.

Not a “student of life”. That’s trite.

Now, I am a student of a lot of things. So many that I need to start narrowing it down, or I’m about to learn a little about a lot of things.

And that will make my brain hurt. No point in opening myself up to that.

As a student, the most important thing is to maintain your curiosity. That’s why I’m starting what might be a series on this blog here with just one question.

And today, I’m an English major. Or a student of high school English. You decide.

Gotta start somewhere, right?

Now, onto my question.

I’ve been hemming and hawing about “honing in vs. homing in” for the past several days. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. It was that or “Hemming and Hawing about Honing In vs. Homing In” as the title of this blog post.

Is it “honing in” or “homing in”? I’ve seen it both ways in different publications and I can’t tell which is right. I’ve always thought it was “honing in”.

Excuse me while I google that.

Aren’t we so spoiled that whenever we have a question we can just “google” it?

First thing I found when I searched Google:

From prowritingaid.com: “Home in and hone in are commonly confused phrases which both refer to narrowing in on a particular topic. Home in means to locate and move toward something. Hone in means to focus on something.

Not necessarily helpful.

From masterclass.com: “Home in is more acceptable and means to direct on a target. The phrasal verb derives from the 19th-century use of homing pigeons, but it resurged in the 20th century to refer to missiles that home in on their targets. It’s also commonly used metaphorically, where to home in on something is to focus on and make progress toward it.”

An image of a Homing Pigeon for reference

From grammarist.com: “The definition of hone is to sharpen an object or a skill. You can hone a blade, but you can also hone your negotiation skills or cooking skills.”.

And, this: “So, the main difference between “hone in” and “home in” lies in the definition of their first words. Some sentences can use both phrases, but the meaning won’t be the same.”

Hmm…something to ponder for a bit I suppose.

So neither one is right or wrong; they are two separate phrases. I still am unsure that I have a clear understanding of what the differences are.

And I think when it comes to my writing/blogging pursuits, both phrases could be used.

I may not get this right (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong-remember I’m a student!) but, in relation to this blog post, a true statement using these two phrases, would be this:

I homed in on what question I wanted to start this series with and in the process of writing this blog post, I have honed in on the difference between “home in and hone in”.

I think anyway.

Fellow English students, what’s your take on these two similar, yet apparently different phrases?

11 thoughts on “I Have Questions”

  1. I love every bit of this, Rhonda…we need linguistic investigators just like you…I’m amazed how wrapped up I can get in these little dives into discovery! 🤣😎🤣

    Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL — I have a friend who say’s I’m a little too adept at coming up with fun titles for people’s work-related duties when I’m doing resume help. Hey, I stick by it — you’ve got skills! 😘

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great series, Rhonda!! How fun to let your curiosity out of the box and this post is a fantastic start. I found myself thinking I knew the difference between home and hone to not knowing at all and back to greater understanding. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rhonda,
    Congrats on your endeavors. And now my brain hurts with the dizziness of home in vs. hone in. Also, I know you’re not supposed to start a sentence with “and.” However (also not supposed to start with this word, but) however — oh damn, now my ADHD is kicking up (or is it kicking in?) and I’ve forgotten what I was going to say because I got distracted with starting sentences with words you’re not supposed to start with. And don’t get me started with ending sentences with words you’re not supposed to. Oh, wait — that’s it (Eureka, I remembered!) — as a student of life — trite or not — I will re-affirm that other trite saying that is also true — the older I get the more I realize just how very little I know. (Don’t remember who to give credit to for that “saying” or whatever it’s properly called, but it wasn’t me.) Either way, glad you homed in or was it honed in (damn!) on becoming a student of English. Let me know when you start to go bonkers with all of the crazy rules, spellings, etc. ! I might be able to help you with that. Nah, never mind. I probably can’t. Also, as they come up in my life, I will have technical questions for you, my friend! You will become my new student expert in the field of grammar and word usage. By the way, is it wooly mammoth or woolly mammoth? That’s the last one that’s perplexed me and that I’m still not clear on. I believe I actually looked it up. In one ear and out the other and all that jazz! All that to say, we should never take for granite a good and proper education! Because education should be rock solid. Ha! Love this post. Can’t wait for more! Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, Mona! I am guilty of starting sentences with “and”. Not as up on the rules of grammar as I used to be! I think it’s “woolly” mammoth for some reason. I agree with you on the “the older I get the more I realize how little I know”. It’s very true for me, that’s why I’m determined to follow my curiosity and expand my brain. Thank you so much for your comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha, fun. I always love a bookish conundrum! My brain’s fried this weekend from working in English (of course) and studying French on the side. Want to be able to speak a little on a trip this summer to Paris with my sister!!

    Liked by 1 person

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