Homophones are words that have the same pronunciation but have different spellings and multiple meanings. Aka, a headache waiting to happen. Obviously, because of context, this won’t matter when speaking. But, in an essay, an e-mail, or anytime you’re writing these will stick out “like a sore thumb” - be noticed easily. Also, knowing some of the less common meanings will help take your English to the next level. I won’t waste time by giving you boring definitions. Instead, I’m going to give you some examples that will clearly demonstrate their meanings and some tricks to help you remember the correct spelling!
Write, Right, and Wright
Write: This word can only be used as a verb.
I’ve always taught my students the saying, “Willy Wonka writes (WWW) with his right hand. This sequence of W’s should help you out next time you’re confused about the spelling.
- While learning a new language you have to stop worrying about being right all the time.
- My house is up ahead on the right.
- The United States and Canada share a border, right? Yes, they do!
- Women didn’t have the right to vote until 1920.
- What are you doing right now? Well, I broke my right hand yesterday riding my bike so I’m trying to write an essay with my left hand.
Wright: This one is a fairly common last name/surname.
- The Wright Brothers built the first airplane.
New and Knew:
- I already knew the difference between knew and new.
- Did you hear that the new iPhone will have Face ID? I knew about that last week!
- I went hiking in my new shoes and now they’re dirty.
- Astrologists are constantly discovering new galaxies.
Think Knowledge. If you know something that means you had knowledge of it. K for knowledge, K for knew.
Ate and Eight:
- Each elephant ate eight Eggs. (E.E.A.E.E.)
Think about elephants eating eggs!
Hear and Here
Hear: You need your ear in order to hear something!
- He has an ear for music. He only needs to hear a song once and he can play it!
Here: This word is usually used to describe location but it doesn’t have to be a physical location.
- I’ll be here all-day long.
- Here, I’ll hold it while you’re on the phone.
- Now here’s what I’ve been looking for!
- Here are some common examples.
Weather and Whether:
Weather: think about eating!
- When there’s good weather I like to eat outside.
Whether: think he and her, this word is usually used to talk about differences between things, like boys and girls – he and her, or if something is going to happen or not.
- Do you know whether the dog is a he or a her?
- Do you know whether he is coming? No, he is going to see her instead.
- I’m eating ice cream tonight whether you like it or not.
- I’m going to the park whether the weather is good or bad!
Can you write a sentence using both homophones correctly? Can you think of any other acronyms that might help someone differentiate between homophones? Can you think of more homophones that are commonly mistakenly for each other? Let me know in the comments below and I will write another article!