Word Confusion: Son versus Sun

Posted July 7, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

On this sunny day, I’ll be a son of a gun if I can believe authors can’t tell the difference between son and sun. I will accept that Jesus is the son of God and that he may be the sun around which the Christians revolve, which of course, you could say about how any proud parent would feel about their child. It still doesn’t make them the same.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Son Sun
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: sun

Image courtesy of Onkelbo and Wikimedia Commons

Father and son.

Image is Jessie Eastland’s own work [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, so it’s actually a sunset, but the picture is so pretty here in Joshua Tree, California.

Part of Grammar:
Plural: sons
Abbreviation; Noun;
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: suns
Past tense or past participle: sunned
Gerund or present participle: sunning

Boy or man in relation to either or both of his parents

  • Male offspring of an animal
  • Male descendant
  • [The Son in Christian belief] The second person of the Trinity
    • Christ
  • A man considered in relation to his native country or area
  • A man regarded as the product of a particular person, influence, or environment
  • [Also my son] Used by an elder person as a form of address for a boy or young man
Abbreviation: For Sunday, a day of the week

Star around which the earth orbits

  • Any similar star in the universe, with or without planets
    • A self-luminous heavenly body
  • [Poetic/literary] A person or thing regarded as a source of glory or inspiration or understanding
  • [Poetic/literary] Used with reference to someone’s success or prosperity

[Poetic/literary] A day or a year

[Poetic/literary] Clime

  • Climate

[Poetic/literary] Glory

  • Splendor

The sun considered with reference to its position in the sky, its visibility, the season of the year, the time at which or the place where it is seen, etc.


  • The heat and light from the sun

A figure or representation of the sun, as a heraldic bearing usually surrounded with rays and marked with the features of a human face

Something likened to the sun in brightness, splendor, etc.

Verb, intransitive:
Sit or lie in the sun.

To be exposed to the rays of the sun

Verb, transitive:
Expose (something) to the sun, especially to warm or dry it
To warm, dry, etc., in the sunshine

To put, bring, make, etc., by exposure to the sun

C.S. Lewis frequently refers to the sons of Adam in his Chronicles of Narnia.

Andre Agassi is one of Nevada’s most famous sons.

Napoleon is a son of the French Revolution.

“You’re on private land, son.”

This is my son, Joshua.

The Laurents have five sons and four daughters.

My son graduated from Yale yesterday.


The sun is the central body of the solar system.

We sat outside in the sun.

The rhetoric faded before the sun of reality.

The sun of the Plantagenets went down in clouds.

After going so many suns without food, I was sleeping.

The exposure to the sun faded the fabrics terribly.

Sun tea is so easy to make.

Verb, intransitive:
All morning, the cat sunned herself on the stone wall.

The kids are planning to sun in the yard.

Buzz could see Clare sunning herself on the terrace below.

Verb, transitive:
The birds are sunning their wings.

Beautiful bodies lying on the beach, sunning their bronzed limbs.

Adjective: sonless
Noun: sonship
Adjective: sunlike, sunward
Adverb: sunward, sunwards
History of the Word:
Old English sunu is of Germanic origin.

Related to Dutch zoon and German Sohn, from an Indo-European root shared by the Greek huios.

Old English sunne is of Germanic origin.
Related to Dutch zon and German Sonne, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek hēlios and the Latin sol.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

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