It’s Starting to Sound a Lot Like …

Yes, Compass Group, there is a Santa!

Allow me to explain. I wrote Santa in July. In September (after the big guy returned to the North Pole), I got a letter back: “No to the train set. You have enough toys. Try again.”

Undeterred, I fired off a second letter: “OK. How about something work-related? Surprise me.”

And Thanksgiving weekend, there it was, the first gift under our tree:

Dear Billy,

The elves tell me it’s your turn in December to write the proofing team’s monthly blog. So, instead of that silly train set you asked for, I will write the blog for you. Hope you like it.

Merry Christmas!


Dear CCS,

Hoe, hoe, hoe! Marry Christmas, everyone. Santa Clause, hear. Is this not a grate thyme of year, oar what?

Your buddy Billy on the proofing teem asked me four a gift this year, and the elves and I decided I’d right this month’s blog fore him. Let me tell ewe, I couldn’t bee moor happy too do it. After awl, won of my biggest jobs each December is to draught the Naughty and Nice List. Sew, as much as I know presence, I also no allot about righting.

Butt then I thought about it: Hoo wants sum kind of English lesson inn the holiday season? Know one! I even ran it bye Mrs. Clause, and she agreed. She said, “Your write, deer; forego the lesson. Dew something fun!”

And that’s what wee have today. Shirley by now you have detected a hole bunch of words that sound write but don’t seam two be the rite words. And that’s because their knot!

What you are looking at are a bunch of homophones – words that sound the same but have different meanings or spelling. I’d love to spend more time with homophones, but this is my busy season, so I’ll leave it to little Billy to explain.


Hold the phones

Homophones often creep into our proposals. Not obvious ones such a but/butt or who/hoo, but we do see several along the lines of your/you’re, there/their/they’re and to/too/two. And what makes these puppies harder to spot is that they will slip through spellcheck.

So, this holiday season – and the other 11 months of the year – keep a keen eye out for homophones and double-check your work. It’ll keep you off the CCS Proofing’s Naughty List.

Happy holidays, everyone!

P.S. Did you catch all the mistakes in Santa’s letter? See below for your ranking:

  • 0-10 – Really? Forget the Naughty List. No toys for you!
  • 11-20 – Not even singing Christmas songs with Buddy the Elf will keep you off Santa’s Naughty List with this score.
  • 21-30 – Improvement, but no eggnog refill for three years.
  • 31-40 – Five-year lock on Santa’s Nice List … no matter how naughty you are.
  • 41-plus – You’re the most wonderful Compass Group employee of the year!

Don’t be sad. We’ll be back on the first Monday next month with a new blog post. If you can’t wait that long—whether because you have a topic you’d love us to cover, a question or you simply want to throw your two cents into the pot—we love talkin’ shop, so drop us a line.

Recent Memos

Know the Rules
Douglas Deane

Know the Rules (to Break)

The English language is constantly evolving. Every year, new words and definitions are added to the dictionary to account for developing terminology and shifting meanings. We adjust based on our culture, and those changes affect grammar, too.

Read More »
Sandra Wells

Bloodcurdling Buzzwords

It’s October, which means it’s almost Halloween! Time for ghoulish goblins, wacky witches and menacing monsters!  I love all the scary aspects of the month,

Read More »
Elizabeth Burr

To be or not to be

If you’ve got kids in the house who absolutely hate their English teachers because they keep yelling at them to stop using “to be” verbs, this blog is for you (and them). Because I’m on their side.

Read More »