It is critical to know the right spelling of a term before using it in written English. Even though they sound the same, you don’t want to write “two” when you mean “to.” Spelling is less essential in spoken English than pronunciation. Consider the word “read,” which has two pronunciations: “red” and “reed.” Because these words produce so much misunderstanding, it’s worth taking a few moments to learn the distinction between homophones and homonyms.
So what do these words mean?
What are Homophones?
Homophones are probably the most common causes when it comes to confusions between words. Actually, they are pairs of words that are pronounced the same and have very similar spellings, usually varying through only one letter. Even so, their meanings are completely different and should be used in different contexts, without the possibility to replace one another as this would totally change the message.
Here are a few examples 👇🏾
|aural||related to the ear or sense of hearing||oral||spoken rather than written|
|band||a thin strip used as a fastener or decoration||banned||to officially or legally prohibit something|
|censor||to suppress unacceptable parts of something (eg. movie)||sensor||a device which detects a physical property|
|die||to stop living||dye||a natural or synthetic substance used to add colour|
|gait||a person’s manner of walking||gate||a barrier used to close an opening in a wall, or hedge|
|idle||avoiding work, lazy||idol||an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship|
|pray||to address a prayer to God or another deity||prey||an animal that is hunted and killed by another for food|
|scent||a distinctive smell, especially one that is pleasant||cent||a monetary unit in various countries|
|write||mark (letters, words, or other symbols) on a surface with a pen, or pencil||right||morally good, justified, or acceptable|
What are Homonyms?
Homonyms are words that are spelled the same but have completely different meanings (two or more). More precisely, a homonym is a word that can mean several things in different contexts, even though it is spelled the same.
Here are a few examples 👇🏾
|address||the particulars of the place where someone lives or an organization is situated||a formal speech delivered to an audience|
|bear||carry the weight of, support||a large, heavy mammal, having thick fur and a very short tail|
|fair||treating people equally without discrimination||(of hair or complexion) light|
|kind||a group of people or things having similar characteristics||having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature|
|match||a contest in which people or teams compete against each other in a particular sport||be equal to someone or something in quality or strength|
|park||a large public garden or area of land used for recreation||bring (a vehicle that one is driving) to a halt and leave it temporarily|
|rose||a prickly shrub that typically bears red, pink, yellow, or white fragrant flowers||move from a lower position to a higher one|
|spring||the season after winter and before summer||move or jump suddenly or rapidly upwards or forwards|
|train||teach (a person or animal) a particular skill or type of behaviour through practice and instruction||a series of connected railway carriages or wagons moved by a locomotive or by motors|
|well||in a good or satisfactory way||a shaft sunk into the ground to obtain water, oil, or gas|
There are many other examples of both Homophones and Homonyms in the English language. Let us know in the comments below 👇🏾
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