Friday, November 8

Posted by Laurel Garver on Friday, November 08, 2013 2 comments
It's Phonics Friday once again, and today we'll be tackling a trio of sound-alike nouns, all pronounced pal-it, that are used in quite different contexts.

Let's take a look at definitions, see the terms used in context, and learn some mnemonic (memory) devices to keep the terms straight.

Why bother? If you accidentally swap one of these legitimate words for another, spell check won't help you. It can't discern context, but merely if a certain combination of letters appears in its dictionary.


Photo by luisrock62,

palate - n. the roof of the mouth; appreciation of taste and flavor, especially when sensitive and discriminating.

The adjectival form palatable and its antonym unpalatable are commonly used to describe food.


  • Smile Train is a charity that treats children born with cleft palate.
  • "The L sound," explained the ESL teacher, "is created by pressing the tongue against the palate." 
  • Because of his sensitive palate, Crosby was always called on to taste-test the soups and sauces.
  • Our hosts served fresh fruit as a palate cleanser between courses.
  • Thea does not find fast food palatable.  (adj. form)

My PAL ATE what appealed to her PALATE.


image: Wikipeda

pallet - n. a mat or thin mattress; a slab or framework  used for carrying things; a unit of goods that can fit on a standard frame used in warehouses.


  • During the hurricane, Deb had only her yoga mat to use as a pallet.
  • Forklift drivers spend their workdays moving pallets of goods around the warehouse.
  • Jim builds dog houses out of wood salvaged from old warehouse pallets.
  • Five pallets of medical supplies were delivered to the refugee camp.

My PAL LET me sleep on his PALLET

image by jppi,


palette - n. a flat board used by artists for holding and mixing paint; a group of colors used together, as an artist might for a particular painting; a comparable range, use or quality of items.


  • Ette squirted dollops of blue, orange, black, and white oil paint onto her palette.
  • Roderigo used a palette knife to apply thick layers of paint to his canvas.
  • Our color palette for the guest room will be plum, pale mulberry, and charcoal, with touches of silver.
  • Yuko's music combined a rich palette of harmonies.

My PAL ETTE put paint on her PALETTE.

Be aware that advertisers love to do word plays on palate and palette.
For example, "Tempt your palate with a colorful palette of summer fruit."
Remember that the "ate" version relates to taste, while the "ette" version is visual.

Which of these words trip you up? Are there other homophones (sound-alikes) that confuse you?


  1. I would've known which one I wanted, but would have completely spelled these wrong except for pallet- I've seen that one on Pinterest alot where people make shelves out of them. =)

  2. I hope my mnemonics help you match up meaning with spelling.