Homophones and Homonyms

Pronunciation | Confusables | Vocabulary


No matter how good your English grammar and vocabulary may be, if your pronunciation is so bad that nobody can understand a word you say, then your English won't be much good as a means of communication. You might be good at grammar, have a broad vocabulary, and be able to explain all the aspects and tenses of English, but it's not much good if you can't be understood when you speak. I have designed these Activities to help you to improve your pronunciation, as well as other areas of your English.


Certain words in English are so alike that they confuse even native English speakers. Words like their and there for instance are often confused. The Activities here look in detail at some of the most common confusable words and give you plenty of explanation into how to use them correctly as well as plenty of exercises to help you avoid making mistakes in the future. 


Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.

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If we look at the words homophone and homonym we see that they both start with homo which means same. In the last part of homophone, phone means sound and in homonym, nym means name. Homophone means words that have the same sound but different meanings. There are several hundred homophones in English. Homonym means words that are written the same, but have different meanings, and maybe different pronunciations. This lesson uses many of my video English lessons to show you how homophones and homonyms are used, and also has some exercises to give you some practice of some of the common ones.  

Homophone 1 Homophone 2 Homophone 3
adds ads adze
ail ale  
ails ales  
air heir  
airs heirs  
airy eyrie  
aisle isle I'll
aisles isles  
aitches h's  
all awl  
allowed aloud  
alms arms  
altar alter  
altars alters  
analyst annalist  
analysts annalists  
arc ark  
arcs arks  
are R  
aren't aunt  
ascent assent  
ascents assents  
auger augur  
augers augurs  
aught ought  
aural oral  
aureole oriole  
aureoles orioles  
away aweigh  
awe ore or
awes oars ores
ayed eyed I'd
ayes ays eyes
baaed bard barred
baas bars  
bad bade  
bail bale  
bailed baled  
bailing baling  
bails bales  
bait bate  
baited bated  
baiting bating  
baits bates  
baize bays  
bald balled  
ball bawl  
balled bawled  
balling bawling  
balls bawls  
balm barm  
balmy barmy  
banded bandied  
bang bhang  
banns bans  
bare bear  
barer bearer  
bares bears  
baring bearing  
bark barque  
barks barques  
baron barren  
base bass  
based baste  
bawd board  
bawds boards  
bay bey  
beaches beeches  
bean been  
beat beet  
beaters betas  
beau bo bow
beaux bows  
beer bier  
beers biers  
beetle betel  
beetles betels  
bell belle  
belles bells  
berg burg  
bergs burgs  
berries buries  
berry Bury bury
berth birth  
better bettor  
betters bettors  
bight bite  
bights bites  
billed build  
blew blue  
boar bore  
board bored  
boarder border  
boars bores  
Boche bosh  
bode bowed  
Boers boas  
bold bowled  
bolder boulder  
bole boll bowl
boles bolls bowls
borders boarders  
born borne bourne
bough bow  
boughs bows  
boy buoy  
boys buoys  
brae bray  
braes braise brays
braid brayed  
brake break  
brakes breaks  
braking breaking  
breach breech  
bread bred  
brewed brood  
brews bruise  
bridal bridle  
bridals bridles  
broach brooch  
broaches brooches  
brows browse  
bruit brute  
bur burr  
bused bussed bust
buy by bye
cache cash  
cached cashed  
calk caulk cork
call caul  
Calne khan  
calve carve  
candid candied  
carat carrot karat
cast caste  
caster castor  
caught court  
cause caws cores
cawed chord cord
cede seed  
ceiling sealing  
cell sell  
censer censor  
cent scent sent
cereal serial  
cession session  
chard charred  
chased chaste  
chaws chores  
cheap cheep  
chews choose  
Chile chilli chilly
choc chock  
choir quire  
choler collar  
chorale corral  
chords cords  
cite sight site
clanger clangour  
clause claws  
climb clime  
coarse corse course
coat cote  
coax cokes  
cocks cox  
coign coin quoin
coir coyer  
colonel kernel  
complement compliment  
coo coup  
cookie cooky  
coos coups  
cops copse  
Copt copped  
core corps  
council counsel  
cousin cozen  
cousins cozens  
coward cowered  
creak creek  
crewed crude  
c's seas sees
cue queue  
curb kerb  
currant current  
cygnet signet  
cymbal symbol  
Czech check cheque
dam damn  
dammed damned  
days daze  
deanery denary  
dear deer  
descent dissent  
descents dissents  
desert dessert  
dew due  
diarist direst  
died dyed  
dire dyer  
discreet discrete  
doe doh dough
doggie doggy  
dollar dolour  
done dun  
dost dust  
douse dowse  
draft draught  
drawers draws  
droop drupe  
dual duel  
ducked duct  
earn urn  
eaves eves  
eerie eery eyrie
elicit illicit  
elusive illusive  
ewe U yew
eyelet islet  
faint feint  
fair fare  
farther father  
faun fawn  
feat feet  
few phew  
find fined  
fir fur  
fisher fissure  
flair flare  
flaw floor  
flea flee  
flecks flex  
flew flu flue
flocks phlox  
floe flow  
flour flower  
foaled fold  
for fore four
foul fowl  
frays phrase  
frees freeze frieze
friar frier  
gage gauge  
gait gate  
gamble gambol  
gaud gored  
gauze gores  
geezer geyser  
gild guild  
gilt guilt  
gorilla guerrilla  
grade grayed greyed
grate great  
grays graze greys
greaves grieves  
groan grown  
groin groyne  
guessed guest  
hail hale  
hairs hares  
hall haul  
handsome hansom  
hangar hanger  
hart heart  
hawed hoard horde
haws whores  
hay hey  
healed heeled  
hear here  
heard herd  
he'll heal heel
heroin heroine  
hair hare  
hertz hurts  
hew hue  
higher hire  
him hymn  
hoar whore  
hoards hordes  
hoarse horse  
hoes hose  
hold holed  
hole whole  
hoop whoop  
hour our  
humerus humorous  
idle idol  
invade inveighed  
ion iron  
jam jamb  
key quay  
knap nap  
knave nave  
knead need  
knew new  
knight night  
knob nob  
knot not  
know no  
knows nos nose
lacks lax  
lade laid  
lain lane  
lam lamb  
laps lapse  
larva lava  
laud lord  
lawn lorn  
lay ley  
lays laze  
laze leys  
leach leech  
lead led  
leak leek  
leaks leeks  
leas lees  
leased least  
lessen lesson  
liar lyre  
lichen liken  
lie lye  
lieu loo  
links lynx  
loan lone  
loch lock lough
lode lowed  
loos lose  
loot lute  
Mach Mark mark
macs max  
made maid  
mail male  
main mane  
maize Mays maze
mantel mantle  
mare mayor  
marshal martial  
mask masque  
mat matt  
meat meet mete
medal meddle  
metal mettle  
meter metre  
mews muse  
might mite  
mind mined  
miner minor  
minks minx  
missed mist  
misses missies Mrs
moan mown  
moat mote  
mode mowed  
mood mooed  
moose mousse  
morn mourn  
morns mourns  
muscle mussel  
mustard mustered  
naval navel  
nay neigh  
nets netts  
none nun  
oar or ore
ode owed  
one won  
paced paste  
packed pact  
pail pale  
pain pane  
pair pare pear
palette pallet  
palls pawls  
pandas panders  
passed past  
patten pattern  
pause paws pores
pawed pored  
pawn porn  
peace piece  
peak peek peke
peal peel  
peals peels  
pearl purl  
peas pease pees
pedal peddle  
peer pier  
per purr  
pervade purveyed  
petrel petrol  
place plaice  
plain plane  
pleas please  
plum plumb  
pore pour  
practice practise  
praise prays preys
pray prey  
pride pried  
pries prise prize
principal principle  
principals principles  
prised prized  
profit prophet  
program programme  
pros prose  
purest purist  
puttee putty  
quarts quartz  
rack wrack  
racket racquet  
raid rayed  
rain reign rein
raise rase rays
raiser razor  
rancour ranker  
rap wrap  
rapped rapt wrapped
read red  
read reed  
rear rhea  
reign rein  
rest wrest  
retches wretches  
review revue  
rheum room  
rigger rigour  
right rite wright
ring wring  
road rode rowed
roc rock  
roe row  
role roll  
rood rude rued
roomer rumour  
root route  
rotas rotors  
rote wrote  
rough ruff  
rouse rows  
rues ruse  
rung wrung  
rye wry  
sac sack  
sail sale  
sane seine  
sauce source  
saver savour  
scene seen  
schemas schemers  
scull skull  
seam seem  
seaman seamen semen
sear seer sere
sears seers  
secs sex  
serf surf  
sewer sower  
shake sheik  
shear sheer  
shire shyer  
shoe shoo  
sic sick  
sicks six  
side sighed  
sighs size  
sign sine  
Sioux Sue  
slay sleigh  
sleight slight  
sloe slow  
soar sore  
soared sword  
sold soled  
sole soul  
some sum  
son sun  
sonny sunny  
sort sought  
spade spayed  
spars spas  
spec speck  
staid stayed  
stair stare  
stake steak  
stalk stork  
stationary stationery  
steal steel  
step steppe  
sties styes  
stile style  
stoop stoup  
storey story  
straight strait  
studded studied  
sty stye  
succour sucker  
suite sweet  
summary summery  
Sunday sundae  
swat swot  
tacked tact  
tacks tax  
tail tale  
talk torque  
taper tapir  
tare tear  
taught taut  
taxes taxis  
team teem  
tear tier  
teas tease tees
tenner tenor  
tern turn  
their there they're
theirs there's  
threw through thru
throe throw  
throne thrown  
thyme time  
tic tick  
tide tied  
tighten titan  
tike tyke  
toad toed towed
toe tow  
told tolled  
tonne ton tun
trussed trust  
vain vane vein
vale veil  
wade weighed  
wail wale whale
wains wanes  
waist waste  
wait weight  
waive wave  
war wore  
ward warred  
ware wear where
warn worn  
wax whacks  
way weigh whey
weak week  
weald wheeled wield
weather wether  
weld welled  
we'll weal wheel
were whir whirr
wet whet  
we've weave  
which witch  
while wile  
whiled wild  
whiles wiles  
whin win  
whine wine  
whirled whorled world
whither wither  
who's whose  
windlass windless  
wood would  
yokes yolks  
yore your you're
you'll yule  

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