example of hone in error in book

Home sweet hone?

One of the quirky delights in my life is finding typos in books. I found the gem above in a tome published by Faith Words (I’m available for freelance proofreading, Faith Words!).

The writer made a common error—choosing hone in for home in.

Home in: Direct attention, move or aim toward a target or goal

Hone: To sharpen, make more accurate, perfect

In the example above, he wanted the howitzer operator to home in on the enemy battery; he wanted the operator to aim toward that target. If the howitzer operator was a bad shot, he should hone his targeting skills to shoot the enemy more precisely.

home in to a targethone skills graphic

Another clue: If the word you want makes more sense when followed by in on, you probably want home.

Now that you’re aware of the difference, you’ll hear/see it misused regularly. How delightful!