Vocabulary 12 - Homophones
Because the English language has thousands of words to be made use of in everyday speaking or writing there are bound to be words which are similar to one another. These words could be similar in spelling or even exactly the same. They might have similar pronunciations but different spellings. The same word could have two entirely different meanings.
The broad category under which words that are spelled the same but have different meanings and may have different pronunciations come is called Homographs
The broad categories under which words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings come is called Homophones
Both Homographs and Homophones are put under an even broader category which is called Homonyms
Words such as DESERT and BOW are homographs:
Desert can mean either 'an area of land which is dry' or 'to abandon something'.
Bow can mean 'to bend down as a mark of respect', 'a ribbon' or 'an item that is used to propel an arrow'.
Words such as FLOWER and FLOUR are homophones. Here the pronunciation is the same but meanings are clear. Look at these two sentences:
‘I love the rose FLOWER.’
‘Get some rice FLOUR from the supermarket.’
The meaning of the words is obvious isn't it? However, the same sentences could be confusing when spoken rather than written as 'flower' and 'flour' are pronounced exactly the same.
The way to get a hang of homophones is to make use of these words as often as possible. In order to help you to be on the way to mastering homophones the quiz that follows exposes you to some homophones in common use.