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

Lynn
Syntax Training

5 COMMENTS

  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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