One sound, much confusion…

April 15, 2020

Homophones are English words that when spoken, sound the same, but can be written with different spellings that have completely different meanings.

We use homophones all the time and don’t give them a moment’s thought which can sometimes lead to confusion, especially if the sentence in which it’s being used is not particularly clear.

The word homophone comes from the Greek language with ‘homo’ meaning one and ‘phone’ meaning voice, (‘voice’ transliterates into English as ‘sound’) So from that historical Greek word, we have the modern English definition which is ‘one sound’.

 Homophones can be difficult to grasp for those of us fluent in English, but spare a thought for those who are learning English as a second language, it must be incredibly difficult for them.

Son

Weigh

Court

Passed

Source

Threw

Pain

Suite

Oral

Byte

Sun

Way

Caught

Past

Sauce

Through

Pane

Sweet

Aural

Bite

There are many, many more homophones in the English language, most of which have two different spellings and meanings, like the ones above.

However, there are a small number that have three different spellings with three different meanings and, believe it or not, I know of at least one example that has four different spellings with four different meanings.

Do you know which words in the English language have one sound yet have four different spellings with four different meanings? If you think you know, then please feel free to drop me a line at simon@englishmaverick.com or leave a comment below and let me know your answer as I’d appreciate hearing from you.

At Maverick, we work with our students to learn and recognise as many homophones as we can introduce them to, because we firmly believe that increasing the awareness and recognising a homophone’s various spellings and meanings is a brilliant way to improve and enhance a person’s knowledge and mastery of the English language.   

 

Anyway, thanks very much for reading this little ditty and I sincerely hope it’s been entertaining and above all, helpful for you.  

 

See you next time.

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