English Language Blog

Understanding Homophones Posted by on Jan 7, 2012 in English Grammar, English Language

One of the confusing things about English is the number of words that sound the same but have totally different meanings. There and their; aloud and allowed; and sew and so, are just three examples that cause some confusion.

In English, we call these words “homophones.” A homophone is a word that sounds the same as another word but has a different meaning and is sometimes spelt differently. For example: I don’t know where you are going to wear that dress!

Why don’t you check your understanding of homophones with the following three sentences. Each blank space counts for one letter in the missing word.  I’ve given you a hint by providing the first letter of each missing word already.

1.  Anya asked if she could come t _ the concert t _ _, but we only have t _ _ tickets.

2.  They are getting t _ _ _ _ coats from the cloakroom over t _ _ _ _.

3.  We can’t tell w _ _ _ _ _ _ the w _ _ _ _ _ _ will be dry or wet.

If you really want to get some extra practise in, then take a look at this story and see if you can correct all the homophones. This is also a great opportunity to look up in a dictionary any of the words you are not familiar with. I’ll post the answers to the story and the sentences above in a later post.

Won fine day when the son was shining weigh up in the sky, a pear of hairs came hopping buy. Watching them from behind a fur tree was an enormous grizzly bare. He had bean keeping an I on them four about a weak from his cave in the hills. Now hear was his chance for a peace of succulent hair pie for dinner.

He crept from his hiding plaice and charged at the hairs. They took too there heals and ran for the mane rode. Luckily a passing van stopped and gave the hairs a lift and saved they’re skins.

The hairs looked over there shoulders too sea the bare stamping his feet with rage. As they turned back they noticed sum dead pheasants in a sack. The van driver was a poacher and was thinking, “Eye rather fancy a nice tasty hair and pheasant pie four dinner tonight,” as he reached four his gun.


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  1. Bill Powell:

    Is the word “transparent” a homophone?
    If not, what is this??

    ” My friend’s new house has a totally transparent glass front door. You can see right into his hall!! What a fool; he is also SO transparent! I am his only friend I think. Poor soul.”

    Thank you! Bill Powell. Texas

    • gabriele:

      @Bill Powell Bill, The word ‘transparent’ is not a homophone, at least not that I know of. In the example you give of the use of transparent in the sentence above it seems to me that the first use of the word has a literal meaning and the second use of the word is more of a figurative meaning. Does that make sense? Great question!