Encountered those peculiar instances in English where words are spelled differently, yet sound alike, and possess distinct meanings? These linguistic homophones can be confounding even for native speakers, so you can imagine the added challenge they pose for non-native speakers trying to navigate pronunciation, meaning, and proper spelling.
In the English language, there are over 440 pairs of homophones, where the spelling differs, the meanings diverge, but the pronunciation remains constant. Here are some illustrations:
Made (v) – past tense and past participle of the verb ‘TO MAKE’
- I made up my mind to learn English with a native speaker.
Maid (n) – a lady’s help or servant
- She really missed the old days when every lady had her personal maid to assist her with housework.
Band (n) – a group of musicians, a music ensemble
- He was a good singer and also played the guitar. His dream was to join a band and make some records.
Banned (v) – past tense and past participle of the verb ‘TO BAN’ – to stop or prevent.
- He was charged by the police for driving without a proper license and was banned from driving for three years.
Ewe (n) – female sheep
- The farmer went to the market to buy some new livestock. He bought cows and ewes, as he already had a ram (male sheep).
You – pronoun
- It is important that you understand the basic mathematical formula if you wish to study it seriously.
Flew (v) – past tense of the verb ‘TO FLY’
- I went on holidays last week. I visited Thailand and flew there in 8 hours.
Flu (n) – virus or bug that affects your health.
- The school was closed for a week as many children had fallen ill with a flu virus, and the management did not want others to become ill as well.
Board (n) – a group of people who control a company or school or similar organization.
- The board of management meets every month to discuss the progress of the business. There is a chairman of the board who oversees all the meetings.
Bored (v) – past tense and past participle of the verb ‘TO BORE’.
- The film was bad. The story was awful, and after twenty minutes, I was bored stiff.
Peace – a state of calm, tranquility, and absence of conflict.
- The diplomat worked tirelessly to negotiate a peace treaty between the warring nations.
Piece – a part or portion of something, often separated from the whole.
- She cut a small piece of cake for each guest at the party.
- The puzzle was challenging, but he managed to fit the final piece and complete it.
Sight – the ability to see or the act of seeing.
- Her eyesight has improved after wearing glasses.
Site – a specific location or place where something is situated or where an event takes place. Example:
- The construction crew prepared the site for the new building.
Role – a part played by an actor in a movie or a function or position in a particular situation. Example
- She excelled in her role as the lead actress in the play.
Roll – to move or cause to move by turning over and over, or a small, round piece of bread.
- The ball started to roll down the hill.
- He had a delicious sandwich with turkey and lettuce wrapped in a soft roll.
Knew – past tense of the verb “to know,” indicating past knowledge or awareness.
- I knew the answer to the question before the teacher asked it.
New – something recent or not previously known, experienced, or used.
- They just moved into a new house in the suburbs.
Tail – the hindmost part of an animal, especially when extending beyond the body or used for balance.
- The cat wagged its tail happily.
Tale – a fictional or imaginative story, often with a moral or lesson.
- The children gathered around the storyteller to listen to a captivating tale of adventure.
Check out other articles: