Do you really want to WAIVE your hand?

Here is a homonym problem I had not seen before.  It appeared in an advice column in The Birmingham News last Sunday:

I would have raised my hand, and politely yet emphatically said, "EXCUSE ME! (Raising and waiving hand now), I have something to say."

Whoops! The word WAIVE means "to give up or let go." I cannot imagine that the speaker meant that she would have given up her hand. She simply wanted to move it back and forth (WAVE) to gain the attention of the person conducting the meeting. Although WAIVE and WAVE sound exactly alike, they have very different meanings.

In editing this sentence, I would also change the punctuation for clarity and correctness. I would remove the comma after HAND in the early part of the sentence because both participles (RAISED and SAID) go back to the same helping verbs WOULD HAVE. I would also "decapitalize" RAISING within the parentheses because that phrase is not a complete sentence.  It should read this way:

I would have raised my hand and politely yet emphatically said, "EXCUSE ME! (raising and waving hand now), I have something to say."


A NOTE OF WELCOME TO ALDOT WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS VISITING THIS BLOG SITE FOR THE FIRST TIME. I hope you will find Grammar Glitch Central useful and visit often. Please feel free to comment or leave questions.

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