Same word?

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Trying to understand a language is already confusing sometimes. But things could get a bit worse when you realize that many words can point to different directions. Many words with multiple meanings exist in the English language.

Homophones are words that are pronounced in the same way but differ in their meanings. Words with different meanings and different spellings that are pronounced the same are also known a heterographs. Examples of words that sound the same but mean different things include “there”, “their” and “they’re”.

Homographs are words that have the same spelling but are pronounced differently and have different meanings. For example, “Polish” and “polish”, “dove” and “dove”, and so on. The term literally translates to mean words with the same written record or depiction. These words are known as heteronyms, a term that translates to mean two unique definitions.

Examples based on the same spelling and different meaning effect include “object” and “object”.

What follows are lists of homophones and homographs. Pay extra attention to your writing and speaking when you are using any of these words! Using the wrong form could entirely change the meaning of what you are trying to say:

Homophones

  • pale/pail
  • ate/eight
  • alter/altar
  • band/banned
  • buy/bye/by
  • red/read
  • blew/blue
  • boar/bore
  • canon/cannon
  • coarse/course
  • fair/fare
  • genes/jeans
  • foul/fowl
  • grate/great
  • in/inn
  • hour/our
  • knight/night
  • no/know
  • nose/knows
  • maize/maze
  • meddle/metal
  • rain/reign
  • sea/see
  • role/roll
  • their/there/theyre
  • veil/vale

Homographs

  • read: She is going to read the book later./He read the book last night.
  • bass: They caught a bass./His voice belongs in the bass section.
  • bow: She put a bow in her daughter’s hair./Please bow down to the emperor.
  • minute: That is only a minute problem./Wait a minute!
  • learned: The class learned that information last week./He is a very learned individual.
  • sewer: The rats crept through the sewer./She is a fine sewer.
  • wound: They wound up the toy as soon as they got it./She received a wound from the punch.
  • does: He does his homework every night./There were many does in the forest.
  • wind: The wind swept up the leaves./Wind the clock up before you go to bed.
  • sow: A sow is a female pig./We’ll sow the seeds in springtime.

Other examples can be found in this video:

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