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What is a Homonym?

Homonyms are one of the most confusing yet interesting topics in the English Language. Consider the two ways to pronounce the word  lead :  led  or  leed.  Even if the words sound similar, you don t want to mistakenly write  weak  when you mean  week.  It s important to distinguish between homophones, homographs, and homonyms because they frequently produce misunderstandings. What do these terms mean?

Homonyms are words that look similarly or have similar spellings but mean completely different things. A homonym is, strictly speaking, a word that has the same pronunciation and spelling as another word. Consider the word "lying," which can refer to either a "horizontal or resting position" or the "not true" position. They sound the same whether spoken and written.

Similarly, "train" can refer to a form of transportation or to both physical and mental activity. In a broad sense, homonyms include both homographs and homophones since they either share the same spelling (homophone) or have the same sound (homograph).

Examples of Homonyms:

  1. Address – location/ to speak to
  2. Bark – the sound of dogs/ tree’s outer layer
  3. Band – a ring/ a musical group

What is a Homophone?

The words homophone and phone are both Greek words that mean "same." Words with diverse meanings that share the same sound are known as homophones. Usually, Homophones can be synonyms of Homographs and Homonyms. Learn Synonyms to strengthen your vocabulary.

List of homophones

Try reading the following sentences out loud before examining their meanings. Despite having different meanings, they need to have the same sound.

  • ad/add
  • ate/eight
  • be/bee
  • blew/blue
  • buy/by/bye
  • cell/sell
  • hear/here
  • hour/our
  • its/it’s
  • know/no
  • meet/meat
  • one/won
  • their/there/they’re
  • theirs/there’s
  • to/too/ two
  • who’s/whose
  • your/you’re

[You May Also Like: Figures Of Speech: Types, Usage & Examples]

Examples of Homophones in a sentence

Let's use a few of the terms from the list above to construct a sentence. Try constructing a statement using the other terms as practice.


  • The appointment at the doctor will take about an hour.
  • Our school was built 50 years ago.


  • Are you leaving?” … “Yes, I need to catch the bus. Bye!
  • You have to be in class by 2 pm.


  • I have to go to the movies.
  • Can I come with you too?
  • If there are two of us, we should take a cab.

Tips to Avoid Confusion in Homophones

Homophones may seem quite difficult to deal with. So, here are some tips to avoid confusion.

  • Context:

Homophones would never be used interchangeably and are referred to as completely different things to not mistake them easily. If someone says, “I like Mangoes” you will not confuse “I” with “eye” because it is impossible to fill that gap. Context will help you avoid the confusion between Homophones.

  • Subtle Differences in Sound:

If you cannot rely on the context, you can always look for subtle differences in pronunciation, it will surely help you distinguish between the words. Some people may find difficulty in finding the difference between words like “fill” and “feel” or “ship” and “sheep”, because the vowel sound is peculiar to English and thus unfamiliar to some learners.  

If this issue interferes with your training, spending some time learning the distinctions between these words could help you advance your speaking and listening abilities.

  • Asking the examiner to repeat the question:

If you come across a homophone or a misheard word in the speaking test, asking the examiner to repeat the question will help you communicate better and increase your score. Some test takers may get scared to do this thinking that it may affect their grade but it is not a problem.

What is a homograph?

The words homograph and grapho, both of Greek origin, mean "write" and "same," respectively. Therefore, homographs are words that have the same spelling and writing but different meanings, as well as occasionally different pronunciations. When a noun and verb share the same words, the pronunciation is frequently merely a change in the stressed syllable from the first (noun) to the last (verb) (verb). As an illustration, record/noun and to record/verb.

List of Homographs

When you understand the meaning of the words below, try reading them out loud. Some of them sound different even if they have the same spelling.

Content (/kənˈtent/)

  • Con-TENT = happy or satisfied (adjective)
  • CON-tent = all that is contained inside something (noun)

Desert (/dezət/)

  • DE-sert = a hot, arid region (noun)
  • DEE-sert = to leave (verb)

Does (/dʌz/)

  • DOSE = female deer (plural)/present (noun)
  • Does = third person singular form of the verb “do” (verb)

Evening (/iːvn̩ɪŋ/)

  • Eav-ning = late afternoon (noun)
  • Ev-en-ing = making more even (verb)

Minute (/maɪˈnjuːt/)

  • Min-ut = 60 seconds (noun)
  • My-nute = extremely small (adjective)

[You may also like: Understand Similes with Definition and Examples]

Read (/riːd/)

  • Red = past tense of reading (verb)
  • Reed = present tense of reading (verb)

Present (/prɪˈzent/)

  • PRE-sent = at this moment or right now/a gift (noun)
  • Pre-SENT = to give something to someone (verb)

Permit (/pəˈmɪt/)

  • Per-MIT = Give permission (verb)
  • PER-mit = Official document (noun)

Examples of homographs in a sentence

Let's combine a few homographs into one sentence. You might try to construct a phrase using the additional words from the list above as practice.

  • I drove down the windy (wine-dy) road on a windy (win-dy) day.
  • She will read (reed) the book that her older sister read (red) last year.
  • I’d like to present (pre-SENT) you with a birthday present (PRE-sent).

I wanted to record (re-CORD) the record (REC-ord) on my device.

How to avoid mistakes in your IELTS test?

It is crucial to comprehend how a word is spoken when preparing for your IELTS Speaking test because this is evaluated in the marking criteria. Making sure you enunciate (speak) things correctly can help you do well on the IELTS Speaking test.

Let's examine the following instance:

It's always a good idea to use a variety of words if you're asked to describe a time that made you joyful during your Speaking examination. You can use the words joyful, cheery, or content instead of happy. You should take care to accurately pronounce the words, though. Con-tent, which means "everything that is contained in anything," should not be substituted for con-TENT, which implies "glad" or "satisfied."

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, some universities don’t make IELTS scores mandatory and some universities have waivers during admissions through which you can enter the US without IELTS.

It depends on the course you are taking up. For English language proficiency, the best tests to choose from are IELTS, PTE, and TOEFL.

A minimum of 60% is mandatory to be eligible to go abroad. For studying abroad, you may need to submit scores of IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, PTE, GMAT, or GRE.


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