Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

It’s no yoke…

with 9 comments

Egg yolks.
Image via Wikipedia

In our film you see Templeton covered in egg yoke and buttermilk and it’s very realistic. We simply couldn’t have done that before.

The effects may be realistic, but the spelling in this Times Online interview with the film director Gary Winick certainly isn’t.

That should, of course, be ‘egg yolk’.

‘Yoke’ has a few different meanings including a wooden crosspiece used to attach animals to a plough, or part of a piece of clothing.

More commonly confused words and phrases


9 Responses

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  1. If you can’t remember which is which, remember that ‘yolk’ has the Y and the L of ‘yellow’; and that yoke’ has the Y and the K of yak, which poor beast sometimes has to bear a yoke.


    27/03/2010 at 4:41 pm

  2. Thanks for that helpful tip, Dai. I’d not thought of linking the ‘y’ and ‘l’ with ‘yellow’.


    27/03/2010 at 5:52 pm

  3. I’ve been thinking all morning about a silly joke we used to play as kids: You’d condition the victim by asking a series of Qs with the “-oke” sound in the answer, such as “What’s the full name for the VW Beetle? What do you do with a stick to test if an animal is sleeping or dead?” Etc. Then the (to us hilarious) punchline: “What do you call the white part of the egg?” I seem to recall — this was before the discovery of electricity — nearly everyone of all ages would say “Yolk.”

    Michael Farrell

    27/03/2010 at 6:13 pm

    • I don’t remember ever hearing this joke; it made me smile as I had to read the final line a couple of times before it sank in. I bet it cracked you up as kids.


      27/03/2010 at 7:07 pm

      • I was then, as now, easily amused.

        Michael Farrell

        27/03/2010 at 7:18 pm

      • I scrambled to make a similar joke, but you beat me to it.

        Michael Farrell

        28/03/2010 at 1:41 am

        • (OK, let’s not over-egg the pudding. Ed.)


          28/03/2010 at 9:26 am

  4. The connection between ‘yolk’ and ‘yellow’ is not an accident; they are formed from the same root. This is made clearer by the fact that ‘yolk’ is an alternative spelling and pronunciation for ‘yelk’ (the L is pronounced). which held on in some quarters until the early 20th century, but is now regarded as obsolete. It may exist in some dialects still, but I’ve never heard it.


    28/03/2010 at 10:03 pm

    • That’s really interesting, Dai, and something I didn’t know. Many thanks.


      29/03/2010 at 6:29 am

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