Timber! (or Timbre?)

I just finished reading another excellent mystery by Louise Penny: The Beautiful Mystery. Penny's series of Inspector Gamache mysteries, which take place in Québec, gets better and better with each volume. I'm always looking forward to the next one. 

This time I read a library book. To my surprise, a previous reader wrote in the book, something I rarely see in books from the library. The individual wrote timbre over this bit of dialogue:

"Well, I have an unusual singing voice. A strange timber." 

Would you have caught the error–and annotated it? I was glad the previous reader had. It helped me recognize the correct spelling of timbre. 

Definition of timbre: the combination of qualities of a sound that distinguishes it from other sounds of the same pitch and volume.

Definition of the more familiar timber: trees or wooded land considered as a source of wood. Wood used as a building material; lumber. 

I was glad to relearn this correct spelling. And to find out at the end of the book who had killed the prior!

Are you certain you use other word pairs such as principal/ principle and fewer/less correctly? Get my 60 Quick Word Fixes.

Lynn
Syntax Training

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the smile to start my day. This week I received an email with the expression “bare with me.” It’s put all kinds of interesting (AKA inappropriate)images in my head! Even the best of editors miss things.

  2. Thanks Lynn for sharing. I enjoy the Inspector Gamache series as well. I think I would have caught it. I come from France, but I live in Quebec and like to read Louise Penny’s books in English.
    “Timbre” is actually a French word (timbre de voix). There are quite a few French words in the English language (and vice versa).
    I love your blog. It has definitely helped me improve my English.
    Thanks!

  3. Hi Geraldine,

    Thanks for your comment! I wonder how far you are in the series. At the end of “The Beautiful Mystery,” poor Beauvoir! I can’t stand what’s happened to him. But what a rich story.

    I did not catch “timber” myself. If it hadn’t been for the library patron who penciled in the correct version, I would not have relearned that lesson.

    Lynn

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