Writing Tip: Hale vs. Hail

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Hale vs. hail is another word choice argument made tricky by the fact that both words are pronounced the same.  So, which would you use when you want to say that you come from a certain place? 

You probably know that hail refers to precipitation that falls in the form of small balls and can be quite damaging to your car’s windshield.  Hail can also be used, however, to denote that you or another person comes from a certain place.  Here’s an example:

Jennifer hails from Columbia, South Carolina.

Now, using hails from instead of comes from may sound odd or overly formal, but there will be times when you will see it in action.

As for the origin of “hail from,” it was originally used to denote the ports where ships originated.  Knowing this gives us a quick tip to help you remember the usage.  Since “hail” rhymes with “sail” and is spelled similarly, you can remember that hail can be used to explain where something or someone came from.

Hale, on the other hand, is more commonly used as a verb that means to haul or pull.  Here’s an example:

The field worker haled the sack of oranges to the truck for loading.

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