Grammar

Real or Reel? What Happens on an Axis?

When something is on an axis, does it real or reel? Sometimes, it’s easy to get tripped up by words that sound alike but are spelled differently.

I was surfing the web when I ran across a spoiler for a television show that left me asking whether the writer meant to use real or reel.

I’ve always been fascinated by idioms. While I tend to get most of them correct on the first try, every now and then, I’m surprised.

The most recent example that tripped me up was the phrase “speak your piece.” Honestly, I always thought it was “speak your peace.” I was quite surprised when I saw it spelled as piece and looked it up only to find out that piece actually is correct.

A few days back I read a spoiler for an upcoming episode of a popular TV series. The spoiler read, “Billy’s world reals on its axis.”

I would have immediately assumed this was a typo. But then I thought about the whole “speak your piece” thing and started second-guessing myself…even though I knew the concept of something “realing” on an axis made no sense.

Real or Reel?

This one turns out to be relatively easy to solve if you think about the suspicious sentence:

Billy’s world reals on its axis.

In that sentence, reals is meant to be a verb. But a quick check of the dictionary reveals real can be an adjective or an adverb (or a noun referring to a unit of money in Brazil). But it’s not a noun.

That tells you immediately that the word has to be wrong.

To confirm the suspicion, you can look up the word reel, and find that definitions of the verb version of the word include, “to turn or move round and round; to be in a whirl or to behave in a violent disorderly manner.”

So the sentence should have read:

Billy’s world reels on its axis.

Indeed, since I first spotted it, the page has been corrected.

Either someone else pointed out the mistake or they caught it themselves a bit too late.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.