Homophones: Words That Sound the Same but Mean Different

In William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asserts, “that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” She means that as their families are rivals, if either of them –she or Romeo– altered their names, they would nevertheless be lovers in love. A name change wouldn’t alter who they were. But swapping one word for another at times does alter the meaning, particularly in English. This often occurs when two (or more) words that sound the same are spelled differently. These words are called homophones. Contrary to Juliet’s assertion, your writing will be flawed if you use the incorrect word or name.

Can you Recognize the Homophones?

Read the sentences below and select the suitable homophone. Then, verify your answers and get the definitions of the homophones.

1. The guitar strings are too ____________. LOSE LOOSE
2. My bike is over ____________. THEY’RE THERE THEIR
3. __________ shirt is missing. YOUR YOU’RE
4. __________ shine was gone. ITS IT’S
5. That’s _________ of butter! A LOT ALOT
6. This room is more spacious ________ the one we just vacated. THAN THEN
7. You can join ________. TO TOO TWO
8. I’m not going to steal because I have ___________. PRINCIPLES PRINCIPALS
9. We saw 10 sharks. It was quite a _________. SIGHT SITE
10. Speak now or forever hold your _________. PIECE PEACE


Answers and Definitions

  • LOOSE = not tight enough. LOSE = misplace something.
    • Don’t lose your car keys.
    • My pants are too loose.
  • THERE = indicating a place at a distance. THEY’RE is a contraction of “they are.” THEIR is 3rd person plural possessive (they own something).
    • Their hats are golden.
    • They’re going to Poland.
  • YOUR = 2nd person possessive (you own something). YOU’RE is a contraction of “you are.”
    • You’re looking spectacular.
    • Your mother has arrived.
  • ITS = 3rd person possessive (it owns something). IT’S is a contraction of “it is.”
    • It’s getting cold.
    • Dog is licking its tail.
  • A LOT = a large amount of something. ALOT – not a homophone or even a word!
    • There’s a lot of candy for everyone.
  • THEN = indicates the order of events. THAN compares things.
    • I’d rather go for a run than watch this film.
    • Yesterday I polished my shoes, and then I went out to play football.
  • TOO = also. TWO is a number. TO either indicates direction or is part of the infinitive version of a verb.
    • The two of you must go hiking.
    • You must go to the opera.
    • I love chocolates too
  • PRINCIPLES = morals/beliefs that direct one’s activities. PRINCIPALS are the chiefs of schools in the US/India
    • I’m scheduled to meet the principalat 9 am.
    • I don’t know how people live without principles.
  • SIGHT = something worth seeing/viewing. SITE = place or short for “website.”
    • We are looking for the site of our new house.
    • There are plenty of beautiful sights in Africa.
    • The site no longer exists. (site = website)
  • PEACE vs. PIECE is a tricky one. “To hold your PEACE” means “to keep things peaceful by not speaking.” Intriguingly, “to speak your PIECE” means “to say what you really want to.” Likewise, “give him a piece of your mind” means “to tell someone what you really believe.”

How did you do? Eight or more means you’re a homophone wizard. 5-7 is average. Anything under 5 means you might want to study this list—it will make your writing much better! If you’d like to learn more homophones, there are tons of online resources ― Simply Google, “English homophones.” Good luck!

Besides, if you are looking for an AI-driven writing tool to enhance your writing, then check out Trinka, the world’s first language enhancement tool that is custom-built for academic and technical writing. It has several exclusive features to make your manuscript ready for the global audience. www.trinka.ai

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