Do You Write With Flare?

I hope your answer to the title question is "No!"

Before you think too hard about the title, let me admit that it's a trick question.

It's a confusing word pair: flare and flair. I was reminded of it the other day when someone who speaks English as a second language wanted feedback on how well a copyeditor had edited an article for her. Unfortunately, the editor had missed a flare/flair error in the article's title!

So here's a quick reminder, whether you are a copyeditor, a proofreader, or a writer who wants to create error-free documents:

Flair is talent, aptitude, or style:
You have a flair for costuming. He writes with wit and flair.

All other uses of the homonyn require flare, which is both a noun and a verb:
He used a flare to warn oncoming traffic. She experienced a flare of anger. That flare in the night sky adds interest to the photo. I saw something flare in the next campsite. Tempers flared. His symptoms flared.

So write with flair, perhaps building on a flare (sudden burst) of creativity.

To sort out 60 other confusing word pairs and trios, get my 60 Quick Word Fixes

Syntax Training


  1. Here in Canada we have an entire magazine called “Flare”. It’s a fashion magazine, so I think the actual intent of the title is “Flair”.

  2. Rita, very interesting!

    I wonder why the publishers didn’t choose “Flair.” Perhaps there’s another magazine by that name.

    Ah . . . My husband just informed me that the Paper Mate company has a pen called “Flair.” I suppose they own the trademark.

  3. I knew there was something off about the title…I can’t believe you tricked me! Awesome post. Getting the meaning of words correct (especially homonyms) is extremely important for good writing. 🙂

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