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Heal vs. Heel

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Heal and heel are homophones. That means that they are pronounced the same when spoken aloud, but they don’t mean the same thing. Homophones are confusing for many writers, and heal and heel doubly so, since they can both be used as a verb in sentences. Even though they are homophones, the words heal and heel are never interchangeable. It is, therefore, important to remember the meanings of these words, since even simple typos can distract your audience and derail your credibility in academic and professional writing.

Origin:

The word heal originated from Old English hǣlan (in the sense ‘restore to sound health’), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch heelen and German heilen, also to whole. The word heel originated from Old English hēla, hǣla, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hiel, also to hough.

Heal as verb:

Heal is used as a verb which means cause (a wound, injury, or person) to become sound or healthy again.

His concern is to heal sick people.

Heal also means alleviate (a person's distress or anguish).

Time can heal the pain of grief.

Heel as noun:

Heel is used as a noun which means the back part of the human foot below the ankle.

Heel is also the part of the palm of the hand next to the wrist.

He rubbed the heel of his hand against the window.

Heel as verb:

Heel is used as a verb which means to fit or renew a heel on (a shoe or boot).

They were soling and heeling heavy working boots.

Examples:

Achilles used to be a warrior like you, until he took an arrow to the heel.

“I have been walking in these heels all day, and I just want to sit down and have some food,” complained Riley.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand: push dough away from you with the heel of your hand, fold it over toward you, give it a quarter-turn, then repeat until dough feels elastic and moist. –The New York Times

The ointment healed me scab.

This led to Woods opting for another surgery called an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion, during which Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute removed the damaged disc to allow two other vertebrae to essentially fuse together to heal as one solid bone. –The Washington Post

Heal and heel are homophones. Both of them can be used as verbs, but only heel is also a noun.

Heal or heel:

Heels are the back part of feet. Heel is also a command given to an animal. To heal is to fix an injury. Being homophones, heel and heal are easy to confuse. They can both be used as verbs, which doesn’t help either. Only heel is used as a noun though. Since it contains a double E, like the word feet, remembering that heels are found on feet is a simple proposition. Also, you can remember that heal has to do with health since it starts with the same four letters.drop 

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"Heal vs. Heel." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 20 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/heal_vs._heel>.

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