Tag Archives: hemmingandhawing

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?