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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelpfulDuo

Common English homonyms and homophones

Do you ever confuse similar words? You’re not alone!

Here are some words that have different meanings but are often confused.

Homophones are words that sound the same.

Homophones

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Homophones

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Homophones

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Homographs are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. They may or may not sound the same.

Homographs

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Let’s not forget words that have different spellings and pronunciations and still get confused often.

Commonly confused words

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Help us come up with more examples in English or another language - share a pair of words you often confuse or a tip for remembering the difference :)

January 12, 2017

197 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/germanwannabee

Effect and affect; heir and air; bear (to carry) and bear (the animal); bureau, burrow, and burro (bureau is slightly different though), lean (not fat), and lean (to tilt onto something), Polish (from Poland) and polish (A shiny coating) .. I could go on, don't you love English!?

One thing I find interesting is that under the "homophones" section, you had "our" and "hour" together. I know some people who pronounce them the same way, but I would say "our" and "are" are homophones.

There should be a list of words that should be pronounced the same, it might be a little long though :) http://ncf.idallen.com/english.html


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

One thing I find interesting is that under the "homophones" section, you had "our" and "hour" together. I know some people who pronounce them the same way, but I would say "our" and "are" are homophones.

I'd say all three are homophones.

Polish (from Poland) and polish (A shiny coating)

...and someone who resembles the ever-present character from the Irish course would presumably be Pólish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrendaJump

Most people I know pronounce Polish as poe-lish and polish as pawl-ish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/.Insertnamehere.

That's true, but they do still have the same spelling.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrendaJump

:D Yeah. It makes me wonder about the etymology of the noun polish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/.Insertnamehere.

That would be interesting to know.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnaRose295439

Just a question... so, do you speak all of those languages beside your name?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/timangleterre

I see pause and paws but how about pores? Or without the s - paw, pore, poor and pour ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

These words’ pronunciations vary by dialect:

  • In rhotic dialects, “pores” is distinct from “pause” and “paws”, and “paw” is distinct from “pore”, “poor”, and “pour”;

  • In dialects that pronounce “moor” and “more” differently, “poor” is distinct from “pore” and “pour” (and “paw” in non-rhotic dialects).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hemiceni

Australian here. I pronounce them all the same


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csherm2002

In a more East Coast US, and perhaps some UK dialects, they all sound about the same, but where I'm from in the Midwest only pause and paws sound the same.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilyfields2313

In Spanish, verb endings change to describe who is doing the action and when. For example, I eat is yo como and you eat is tú comes. Because of this, you can just say como arroz (I eat rice) instead of yo como arroz.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sarah553648

"our" and "hour" are pronounced the same "are" is more like a pirate. "arrr".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/singingeva

Depends where you live.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/7895123G

Where I come from most people pronounce fair and fur the same.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csherm2002

Where are you from..?? Here fair is fAIr with a hard A. and fur sounds like fUHr or fir. Nothing alike. Man english dialects are complicated


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/7895123G

Near Liverpool. Also hair and her sound the same. Her being pronounced the most reconisable way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csherm2002

Ah that makes sense. I'm from the Midwest US. Here her is just like hr or hir and hair is again with a hard A.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/preed15

These all just depend on one's accent then I would suppose.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kinlea_Barnhill

I Agree. I tried to give you a lingot


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/livy1231234

wow! you are learning a lot of stuff. hope you do well


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelpfulDuo

Great examples!

Also a good point that some homophones depend on pronunciation - thanks for sharing that list :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/evelyn18s

Your examples are not all homophones because they are not pronounced the same way. Bureau, burrow, and burro are all pronounced differently, with three different "u" sounds, by native English speakers (regardless of the regional or national accent in play). The same for effect and affect: effect is either pronounced eee-fect or eh-fect, while affect is pronounce a-fect. Same for Polish and polish - the first has a long "o" while the second has a short "o". Also, "hour" and "our" are true homophones while "our" and "are" definitely are not.

I'm just clarifying this so that those trying to learn English do not learn incorrect pronunciations. Your hearing of the pronunciations of these words serves to underscore why it is so difficult to learn a foreign language. Our ears, and mouths, are very attuned to the sounds of our native languages, and we often don't hear the nuances of pronunciation in a language that uses slightly different sounds. Were I to try to identify homophones in German, no doubt I would err in the same way.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

I mostly agree with you, evelyn18s, but not completely. I am a native English speaker, and I assure you that I and all who speak with my accent pronounce "burrow" and "burro" exactly the same. (I also pronounce "borough" in that way, though some pronounce the first vowel with more of an "o" sound.)

As for "Polish" and "polish", I believe those are more correctly termed homographs rather than homophones.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alphabeta

I don't say "hour" and "our" the same way, but I live in New Zealand where we greatly confuse many of the "a" and "o" vowel sounds (relative to other English dialects). I think we probably say "hour" the same as most dialects do; but my "our" is nearly a homophone to "are"!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pruechelan

I find there were a handful of homophones on the list I don't pronounce the same, berry & bury are the most obvious to me I pronounce bury like brrr -y like the sound that you make to announce that you're cold.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MartinCroft

Hi,

I'm currently interested in Canadian English and I can tell you that according to the researches I've read some people in Canada make a distinction in such words. I think this is most common in Quebec. :)

J'ai lu que tu es francophone car j'ai pensé d'écrire quelque chose en français aussi. :) L'anglais n'est pas ma langue maternelle non plus parce que je suis polonais :). Je sais que l'anglais n'est pas une langue facile mais je vois que tu l'as maîtrisé déjà ! :) Pardonne-moi si j'ai fait des erreurs en français mais je n'ai pas eu beaucoup de pratique récemment :).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pruechelan

Merci! j'espère que ma anglais est bien, j'ai appliqué au université en anglais. Je pense que maintenant ma anglais est plus bien que ma français. Même que c'est ma langue matérnal, j'étudié anglais formellement mais j'ai jamais etudies français formalment autre de école élémentaire. Ton français est trés bien.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MartinCroft

That's awesome! I'm sure you'll do great! :) I'm majoring in English and I'm actually thinking of PhD studies focusing on Canadian English :).

Je te comprends :). Parfois, j'oublie des mots dans ma langue maternelle et je me souviens des mots anglais ;D. Merci beaucoup ! Ça veut dire beaucoup pour moi !


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Typo3000

d'école élémentaire


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pruechelan

I'm from Canada but I'm Francophone and learned English mostly from a bunch of different sources so I have a hodgepodge accent.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeiferB

Mine (as in mineshaft) and mine (as in "that thing is mine").


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amosc.lowk

In English, we use the word "you" for both singular and plural purposes; in other languages such as French and Spanish, "you" is different for the both the singular and the plural. In Spanish, it is also different if it is formal or informal speech (e.g. You would use formal speech if you were talking to a stranger but informal speech for a familiar person). To sum it up in Spanish, regard the table below:

tú - you (sing., informal); usted - you (sing., formal); vosotros - you (pl., informal, masc.); vosotras - you (pl., informal, fem.); ustedes - you (pl., formal)

To further clear up this issue, below are examples of "you" in plural and singular in Spanish and in English.

In English:

"you" (pl.) - You (all) should do better next time.

"you" (sing.) - You should do better next time.

In Spanish (informal speech used):

"you" (pl.) - Vosotros sois buenos. (You are (all) good.)

"you" (sing.) - Tú eres bueno. (You are good.)

Hope that helped!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gatiquo

Some homophones are pronounced differently in various English dialects, and, as indicated in other comments, have additional words pronounced the same way in other dialects.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

Nice list. I used to keep a booklet of homophones.

Your last "bow" should be pronounced differently. Also, consider adding "bough" to the list.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tregina12000

You could also consider adding to that list another definition of "bow," the end of a ship, pronounced like the "bow," as in greeting, and the above mentioned "bough."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/duolingonaut

I'm not sure weather I approve of homophones.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

Eye yam knot shore weather ewe a prove uh vim, aye there.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csherm2002

It's a sign of how screwy English is that I understood that perfectly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ericredd0

I'm not sure whether I can weather your weather?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

In your list of homophones, “yore” could be added to “your”. (I pronounce “you’re” as /jʊɹ/, so “you’re” and “your” are homophones for me only when “your” is unstressed.) “You”, “yew”, and “ewe” could also be added, as could “be” and “bee”, “key” and “quay”, “pea” and “pee”, “see” and “sea”, “tea” and “tee”, “yea” and “yay”, “hay” and “hey”, “high” and “hi”, “low” and “lo”, “hew” and “hue”, “coo” and “coup”, “no” and “know”, “toe” and “tow”, “time” and “thyme”, “red” and “read” (past tense), “led” and “lead” (the element), “bridal” and “bridle”, as well as “new”, “knew” and “gnu”, “so”, “sew”, and “sow” (verb), “lay”, “ley”, and “lei”, “nay”, “neigh”, and “née”, and “rain”, “rein”, and “reign”. Another possibility is “for” and “fore”, with “four” added for those dialects in which “horse” and “hoarse” are homophones, and “oar”, “ore”, and “o’er”, with “or” added for “horse”–“hoarse” merger dialects, as well as pairs such as “pain” and “pane”, “days” and “daze”, “maid” and “made”, “mail” and “male”, etc. which are homophones in most (but not all) dialects.

In your list of homographs, “read” (/ɹiːd/, present tense) and “read” (/ɹɛd/, past tense) could be added, as well as “mine” (possessive pronoun) and “mine” (source of ore), “pine” (tree) and “pine” (long for), “round” (adjective: circular) and “round” (competition stage), “rime” (icy coating) and “rime” (second part of a syllable), and “export” (/ˈɛks.pɔɹt/, noun in rhotic dialects with the “horse”–“hoarse” merger), “export” (/ɪksˈpɔɹt/, verb in rhotic dialects with the “horse”–“hoarse” merger), “export” (/ˈɛks.poɹt/, noun in rhotic dialects without the “horse”–“hoarse” merger), “export” (/ɪksˈpoɹt/, verb in rhotic dialects without the “horse”–“hoarse” merger), “export” (/ˈɛks.pɔːt/, noun in non-rhotic dialects with the “horse”–“hoarse” merger), “export” (/ɪksˈpɔːt/, verb in non-rhotic dialects with the “horse”–“hoarse” merger), “export” (/ˈɛks.poət/, noun in non-rhotic dialects without the “horse”–“hoarse” merger), and “export” (/ɪksˈpoət/, verb in non-rhotic dialects without the “horse”–“hoarse” merger) — one pair of homographs with four pairs of dialectal pronunciations!

In your list of confused words, “rein” (a strap connected to a bridle) and “reign” (to rule as a monarch) should be added, so that people will recognize that giving someone “free rein” rather than “free reign” preserves the riding metaphor. Similarly, “you’re” and “your” could be added to the list so that “you’re welcome” (vs. “I’m welcome”) can be distinguished from “your welcome” (vs. “my welcome”), and “have” and “of” could also be added, so that perfect infinitive constructions like “I should have known” (and “I should’ve known”) can be recognized as correct, and “I should of known” can be recognized as incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kennedikiki

LOL! i am confused i mean like really confused now!LOL!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilyfields2313

it ok everyone confuse at some point


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnnaGuaGua

this is a quality post, thank you for posting :)

There is Diner and Dinner, Desert and Dessert. I know people always mix those up!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bookrabbit

do you mean diner?

wander and wonder are two americans seem to get confused a lot.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WildSage

What Americans are you hanging out with?!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bookrabbit

I lıved there for ten years so I came into contact wıth a faır few.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WildSage

I've lived here much longer than that and I don't know anyone who mixes those up.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bookrabbit

maybe you have been wondering about without noticing!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kennedikiki

i lived here all my life


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/no.name.42

I am surprised you didn't include "cite" with "sight" and "site."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

Here's a good one: "To bait", meaning to put a worm on a hook so you can catch a fish, vs. "to bate", meaning to cause to lessen or cease.

That second verb really isn't used much, mainly as an adjective participle in the phrase, "To wait with bated breath". I have lost count of how many times I have seen someone write that he is "waiting with baited breath"; makes me want to ask him if he's been eating worms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NatalieRobyn812

English is crazy. Makes me wonder why it's the linga franca of the world.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chilvence

It's Britain silly. We got around...

Being an island floating off the coast of Europe, it was basically a given that Britain would become obsessed with maritime exploration. Since the sea is a road that connects everywhere to everywhere else, and since we were the strongest naval power for a long time, trade took us all over the world and military power only sealed the deal. Couple that with generally cultivating superior technology compared to nearly everyone, even the oldest civilisations like China, and there was very little standing in the way. Other European countries played the same game, but Britain also had the advantage of being naturally well protected from outside intervention. We have a big moat of the coast of Kent which generally kept out trouble makers.

There is a fascinating parallel with Polynesian languages, hundreds of years before the British Empire was even a faraway dream, Polynesian languages spread over an area further and wider than any continent, in a giant triangle stretching from off the coast of Africa, east through Indonesia and the Phillipines, north to Hawa'i and down to the Pacific off the Peruvian coastline, and right back through New Zealand. It may not be a strict fair comparison because it is not one people with one language, but it gives you ample evidence of how easily a people and culture can spread across a vast distance just by using the sea.

All those closely related languages were spread by people using little more than rafts, who navigated by the stars pretty much from memory using techniques that would baffle anyone alive today. In contrast, Brits had sturdy wooden ships, professionally trained sailors, compasses, clocks, sea charts, star charts, not to mention guns to discourage people from bothering us... we basically had it easy.

So in short, exploration and trade was the main business, the 'becoming lingua franca' thing was just a lucky accident. If you went back to 1067 and told an English speaker their language would one day be the most popular second language in the world, and that India and China alone would have more English speakers than the English, they would have thought you were a complete and total lunatic. We never could have predicted that English would become ubiquitous. Which is why we did such a piss poor job of tidying our language up before it went global :)

(euh... I hope that wasn't just a rhetorical question)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/frankietoni

I just love the Aussies and Brits!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilyfields2313

MikeMears3 6 5

To insure - to take out insurance against a bad event or loss occurring To ensure- to make sure that some thing will happen


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NatalieRobyn812

Funnily enough, it was a rhetorical question. But, thanks for the reply.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BerberuEsperanto

When Normans lost Normandy, started switching to English language of land they ruled. But English had hardly been written for over 200 years; all official text had been written in French and anything related to universities or clergy was in Latin. So scribes tried to write down what they heard and were pretty inconsistent. They applied French spelling conventions to English words, so cwen became queen, cirice became church and c was used instead of s in words like cell and circle. They also struggled with English handwriting, where u, v, n and m all looked very similar. So they replaced u with o in words like done and come.

At same time, thousands of French and Latin words were entering English language. scribes kept original French spelling for some (table, double, centre) but changed spelling of others to reflect their English pronunciation (e.g. beef, battle, government, mountain). This was wild time for English spelling as concept of “correct” spelling didn’t really exist. People also spelled according to their local dialect.. 500 years ago, 5-7m people spoke English, almost all of them living in British Isles. Now, anywhere up to 1.8b people around world speak English.

EN doesn’t have Academy to say how language should develop. Scholars tried to make English neater language but ended up making it messier!

How did this happen? Growth of English has nothing to do with structure of language, or any inherent qualities, and everything to do with politics.

It's the most convoluted language. That's why there's movement for simplified or Globish that the British have to learn as well.

But the 20sh% of speakers is far from lingua-franca. The reason... European Identity, (search for) Zlatko Tisljar Assoc4 European Consciousness Maribor 3/8'11 www.debatingeurope.eu/2011/08/03/should-esperanto-be-the-language-of-europe/#.V53JpLh95hF


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daughterofAlbion

"When the Normans lost Normandy..." Huh?? They are still there.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

And far from switching to the language of the land they ruled, they suppressed Anglo-Saxon and imposed Norman French. I'm afraid that the information you have found @berberu is flawed and this has misled you. That's the problem with the internet, not all the information posted is reliable. :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

I think President Thomas Jefferson posted something about the unreliability of internet information while he was writing the Magna Carta.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BerberuEsperanto

Magna Carta Libertatum was more about Magna than Libertatum (that all abstraction and principle in world won't get you liberty unless nobles get it for you!??)

In today's Digital Age, Internet is Magna Carta Libertatum.

You should know how to Analyse Data to make it meaningful. And read from different sources/languages to avoid bias.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BerberuEsperanto

When (copied) from English it is unreliable. Focus on the outcome related to EN not Normandy.

Just trying to find the logic of compound nouns (which can be verbs/adverbs/adjectives...crazy) and translate 'coffee bean bag'. Is it a (shopping) Bag (object) made from coffee bean?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

As long as it doesn't say the same in your own native language then you're ok, otherwise ignore it. :-))

Don't worry about trying to find the logic in English, there is very little, it is a highly illogical language because it arose from so many diverse and conflicting sources.

A coffee bean bag for example would usually be a bag in which coffee was stored and transported but in fact, it could actually, rarely be a bag made of coffee beans (if that's possible). Only the context would tell you.

For example :

"The warehouse held large supplies of coffee bean bags in readiness for the harvest."

but

"The shopping bag manufacturer bought large quantities of coffee beans for use in the production of their unusual coffee bean bag."

As I say, not logical but I hope it helps, let me know if you have any more questions and I'll do my best to answer them. Gena :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WaterPolyglot

Finally, the top of the sticky list is actually language related.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WildSage

This is second not the top. It seems silly to me. Most people pass those by anyway.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WaterPolyglot

I was speaking 'generally'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iToochPlayer

Yes, this is a nice guide. I usually get homonyms and homophones confused.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/psluk

Thank you very much, this is really helpful! :)

Just a question: Is the pronunciation of fool correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelpfulDuo

just updated it :) good point! it should have been [ful]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zyxwvutsrqpo

Are you sure it isn't empty?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilyfields2313

which supply equals demand for a product


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SaulZackson

"It's" is a contraction of "it is." "Its" is a possessive pronoun. It's raining. The dog can fetch its ball.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PJMCD

"Phase" and "faze" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IanWinkler

One set of homophones I can think of are "passed" (to leave behind) and "past" (gone by in time or no longer existing). I've been speaking English all my life and I still mess up my homophones when writing!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fsiyavud

ball and bawl as well


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

In dialects which preserve the distinct pronunciations of “cot” and “caught”, they’re not homonyms; in those dialects, “ball” is pronounced /bɑ(ː)l/, but “bawl” is pronounced /bɔl/.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alibob99

I'm sorry but I don't agree with this one. Most of my accent is very BBC English and cot and caught are definitely different for me but I can't hear a difference between ball and bawl.

I don't understand why your pronunciation of caught has any standing with how you would say bawl.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

In dialects without the merger, the vowel of “ball” and the vowel of “cot” tend to be identical (/ɑ/ or /ɒ/, depending upon dialect), and the vowel of “bawl” and the vowel of “caught” tend to be identical (/ɔ/).

Do you use /ɔ/ for “ball”?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

I have to agree with alibob99 on this one: check on any dictionary and you will always find "ball" having the /ɔː/ vowel of ‹caught›; maybe in some dialects ‹ball› and ‹bawl› are still distinct because of retention of an old difference but it certainly has nothing to do with the cot–caught merger.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roger_Burke

Under "sight" and "site" you should add "cite." How is that for insight?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cayenna

bow also could mean the front of a boat


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StacyInColorado

which is pronounced like the bough of a tree


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ignatznkrazy

Root and route are not homophones for everyone. In fact, I rarely hear this pronunciation for route in the U.S. West.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

But to be fair, you don't get your kicks on Rowt 66.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ignatznkrazy

Great point. Route 66 runs through my city, and everyone does call it "Root 66" just like in the song. But when we are talking about pathways, most people say "rout." In fact, just days before I made my comment, someone told me to take a certain "root" and it caught me off guard. It's quite fascinating, the ways we use language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatrickHon9

I pronounce them differently here on the East coast as well, but hear people pronounce them the same.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alibob99

These would always be homophones for a British English speaker.

Do you pronounce route like rout?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ignatznkrazy

Yes, that is how it is pronounced in many parts of the U.S.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maria_321-

Does anyone have a list of common Spanish words (en Español) that are homonyms and homophones?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikeMears3

To insure - to take out insurance against a bad event or loss occurring To ensure- to make sure that some thing will happen


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndrewPier18

Imply vs. infer; comprise vs. composed of. Not homophones in any way, but they are often confused.

  • the speaker implies, the listener infers
  • a big thing is composed of several smaller things, while several smaller things comprise the bigger thing. For example, "The beach is composed of sand, seashells, and water" but "The sand, seashells, and water comprise the beach." (It is never correct to say "something is comprised of.")

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

However, it is correct to say, "The beach comprises sand, seashells, and water."

The verb "to comprise" essentially means "to contain". So it might make sense to say that some things are comprised by something else -- e.g. "Sand, seashells, and water are comprised by the beach" -- but no one ever uses it that way. So I'd have to agree that, in actual usage, it's never correct to say "A is comprised of B, C, etc." But this usage is becoming so common that, at some point, Chomsky will win and it will become "right" simply by dint of overwhelming force of popular usage.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LKilinski

I dont. But here are some Desert (DES-ERT) like ice cream, and a sandy desert.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

Not quite. The verb "to desert" means "to abandon", and is pronounced the same as a tasty post-meal dessert, like mousse (not to be confused with moose, which is much heavier and not as sweet).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EnchantedApril

Note that there is a double S in dessert (ice cream). The way to remember the spelling is that you may want a second helping. Desert (Sahara) has only one S, as does the verb "to desert" (abandon)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NataliaMye

Hey guys listen i'm a little confused about this topic help me out here!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EnchantedApril

Although they have a variety of meanings has anyone tackled the various pronunciations of "-ough(t)? It was one of the toughest lessons to teach non-native speakers. Cough (coff), tough (tuff), though (thō), etc. I know native Spanish speakers I taught had difficulty in distinguishing between YELLOW and JELL-O.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

LOL at "yellow-jello" confusion. Yes, I can see that might be a problem, but it never occurred to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amosc.lowk

In English, we use the word "you" for both singular and plural purposes; in other languages such as French and Spanish, "you" is different for the both the singular and the plural. In Spanish, it is also different if it is formal or informal speech (e.g. You would use formal speech if you were talking to a stranger but informal speech for a familiar person). To sum it up in Spanish, regard the table below:

tú - you (sing., informal); usted - you (sing., formal); vosotros - you (pl., informal, masc.); vosotras - you (pl., informal, fem.); ustedes - you (pl., formal)

To further clear up this issue, below are examples of "you" in plural and singular in Spanish and in English.

In English:

"you" (pl.) - You (all) should do better next time.

"you" (sing.) - You should do better next time.

In Spanish (informal speech used):

"you" (pl.) - Vosotros sois buenos. (You are (all) good.)

"you" (sing.) - Tú eres bueno. (You are good.)

Hope that helped!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

This would all be so much better if we English speakers hadn't dropped "thou" from common usage. All this singular/plural nonsense would go away!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NinROCK3T
  1. In the homophones, some people pronounce our like "are" & route like "rowt".
  2. I've never heard people mix up ship/sheep, bed/bad, fool/full, or hair/her personally
  3. Overall these are just some examples of how flawed English' spelling system is.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KristinWT
  1. A native US English speaker West coast, I pronounce those that way.
  2. A Puerto Rican girlfriend, native to the island, mixes these up all the time. Don't let her say Ford Focus.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilyfields2313

Saber uma menina é uma coisa boa, mas tentar ter um que não


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

Most of these are however near homophones that (depending on the learner's native phonetic and phonemic inventory) would sound the same in their accent. For example most romance and Slavic languages (basically languages that do not have length distinction) do not have any phonemic distinction similar to the slip–sleep one, so they confuse the two phonemes; the same can be said for the fool–full pair, which is actually homophonic in some native English accents (the cockney accent, for example, or the American accents with the full-fool merger). Many languages, including German, tend to produce a more "American" /æ/, conflating it with the /ɛ/ phoneme, thus bad and bed sound the same. The [ɜ] in her is also a rare phone cross-linguistically and many languages with no central vowel tend to realise it as either a front rounded vowel (this is the case for most native German speakers pronouncing ‹her› like /hœ/, ‹hö›) or a front unrounded vowel, thus merging it with ‹hair›.


[deactivated user]

    I wouldn't say it's flawed; English has just had so many influences from other languages that there's no longer many set spelling rules.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soniawaite

    My son in law comes from Liverpool. When he says "her hair", it sounds to me (from Surrey) that he says "Hur hur"! so in that case, it is a homophone


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ClimateCanary

    Or maybe he's just having a laugh, hur, hur! ( Sorry, I couldn't resist) ;)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/23maxwellj

    well i dont speak english well and its the only language i know so maybe hes like me! english doesnt come natuarally


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NicolasCortinas

    I have another one, similar to advise/advice. Devise: Invent, Conceive ---> I would like to devise a new phone. Device: Gadget, Machine ---> I like this new phone, it is such a great device.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sincaxi

    It's worth noting that in American English, "berry/bury" and "root/route" are not homophones. Those are homophones in British English as far as I'm concerned.

    I also think that some dialects of English do have different sounds for "your/you're" and "their/there/they're".

    You should probably clarify what dialect of English we're going by in cases like these.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

    “Berry” and “bury” are homophones (as /ˈbɛ.ɹi/) in US English, and there are dialects of US English in which “root” and “route” are homophones (as /ɹuːt/).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xigoi

    > Bad, bed

    You could also include bat and bet, I know someone who can confuse all four.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

    “Bad” and “bed” are not homophones in most dialects — “bad” is typically /bæd/ and “bed” is typically /bɛːd/. Similarly the contrast between “bat” and “bet” is typically /bæt/ vs. /bɛt/.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xigoi

    They also weren't listed as homophones.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

    Then why did you list them in your first comment above?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

    I suspect that that is because bad–bed–bat–bet are all homophones in a thick German accent (realised approximately /bɛt/), so it may be useful to point out that in most if not all standard English accents they are differentiated.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/scilling

    As I’d done above.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilyfields2313

    Bad "und" Bett "sind nicht Homophone in den meisten Dialekten -" schlecht "ist typisch / bæd / und" Bett "ist typisch / bɛːd /.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilyfields2313

    yea something like that


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilyfields2313

    In Spanish, verb endings change to describe who is doing the action and when. For example, I eat is yo como and you eat is tú comes. Because of this, you can just say como arroz (I eat rice) instead of yo como arroz.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

    So if you eat like a famous American crooner from the 1950s, then you would say, "Como cómo Como."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Annaliseki1

    Hour and our are pronounced "are" and "our"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daughterofAlbion

    Only in some dialects. Which dialect of English do you speak?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonasIvesS

    Remember, there are homophones and homonyms. Homophones are two or more words that sound the same, but have different meanings. Homonyms are two words that are spelled the same. Therefore, "poll" and "pole" are homophones, and "lean" and "lean" are homonyms (although technically homonyms are homophones in that they usually sound the same, I think they are still grouped seperately).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

    Homographs are words that are spelled the same. The term "homonym" is used to mean homophone, homograph, or sometimes both.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonasIvesS

    Sorry, thanks for correcting me. In that case, "dove" (the type of bird) and "dove" (past-tense of "dive") are homographs but not homophones


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hamptonford

    Don't forget cite and sight or sent, scent, and cent. Also, to me fur is more like grrrr and hair is identical to hare.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonasIvesS

    It is so frustrating that I cannot reply to other comments; each time I try, my comment somehow moves far away from the comment I am trying to reply to. Even typing at the top of the page sends my comment to some random space in the comment section. Is there a way to fix this?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

    Typing at the top will send you to the bottom of the list and your comment starts with 0, so any negative comments will be underneath yours. You must click on reply at the comment you are replying to. Doesn't this work for you?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonasIvesS

    If you see this below your comment, it did.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonasIvesS

    Oh, huh... I guess it worked.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonasIvesS

    This did not happen earlier when I tried to reply to sbeecroft?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

    I don't know why it wouldn't. I am glad it is working for you now.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephgbaker

    I didn't check all of the comments but dove can be pronounced differently depending on whether you are referring to the bird or the past tense of dive. Also, whether and weather, now that I mention it...and also I/eye, 1st person pronoun/sight organ.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

    Yes, those are homographs which are spelled the same but pronounced differently. English learners could confuse the pronunciation.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AliceBlanc3

    I wouldn't pronounce weather and weather the same, as Whether starts with an aspirated sound. Similarly I distinguish whales and Wales, what and watt (a unit of power). But weather and wether (a castrated male sheep over the age of one) are definitely homophones.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/duolingonaut

    I've been wondering about this: how many people do you think know the word "wether" - I didn't until recently. Google looks for "weather" at first. The spell checker in Chrome doesn't know the word. It's similar to the Danish word for "ram" (vædder). The two words share etymology. You are right of course about the pronunciation of whether - is this true for all english speakers?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

    It's often the case that general speakers of a language, even native speakers, don't know specialized vocabulary. "Wether" is a specialized term. If most people of an area were sheep farmers, the term would be widely understood.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AliceBlanc3

    I knew about wethers because relatives raised sheep in Wales - my aunt once said, apropos of the meat on my plate, that there was 'one on the hill and one in the freezer'. I did some research which suggested the term hogget is more common, though the meaning is not quite the same.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ifphigenia

    A hogget or hoggett is a male sheep between one and two years old, it may or may not be castrated, whereas a wether is a castrated male sheep of any age but usually older than two.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RONALDO_THE_BEST

    the chat is named sticy but it should be called stiky ❤❤❤❤❤ and french fries


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dokw_

    Boy am I glad English is my first language. This would have confused the hell out of me.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dan_Hettinger

    Hey - Used to attract attention, to express surprise, interest, or annoyance, or to elicit agreement. and Hay - grass that has been mown and dried for use as fodder.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hattieeee

    Flower//flour, knight//night, hour//our//are... there are so many that I can't think of many o_o


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MohamedHajr

    Great article thanks a lot.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Giovanni1263

    Buoy and boy are homophones. Unfortunately, buoy is often mispronounced.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Glinty08

    Practice & practise. The first one is a noun, second one is a verb. Examples: I am doing some practice on my violin; I spent an hour practising my violin. Easy way to remember which is which: substitute the word "advice" or "advise"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

    In the US, "practice" is a verb. "Practise" is not used at all, and is considered a misspelling (unless found as a verb in British-produced works).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GaryRuff1

    hahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahaha


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sunny838

    homographs in Spanish: Cómo (how) = como (I eat) Libro (book) = libro (I´m off) Tú (you) = tu (your) cura (priest) = cura (cure) Llama (flame) = llama (he/she calls) Nada (nothing) = nada (he/she swims) Sal (salt) =sal (go out!) Vino (wine) = vino (he/she came)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Taylor1133

    dinner and diner, i get confused a lot


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anik_aiub

    I noticed most of the German clubs form codes on here are full, so I started a new ione. Learning German from English - Feel free to join!

    Club code: APCU65


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anik_aiub

    I noticed most of the German clubs form codes on here are full, so I started a new one. Learning German from English - Feel free to join!

    Club code: APCU65


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarolineSa516828

    cash me ousside howbow dah


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YelnatsStanley

    Tea (caffeinated drink) and Tee (the little thing used for golf). Little one I thought of really quick.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/babybundtcake

    there, their, they're; bread, bred


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsaacSanford

    my dad is a spanish teacher


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zane809372

    Just a little complication, the word "bow" on the third part (meaning to bow to an audience) is not pronounced the same as the other two. You also forgot the fourth type of bow, as in the bow of a ship. (I don't know the symbols for pronunciation, but both of which I speak of are pronounces similar to the word cow.)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/usernamefunny

    ad add. dew due. sail sale. eat eight. http://www.singularis.ltd.uk/bifroest/misc/homophones-list.html

    here is a link to more :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

    "Eat-eight"? "Ate-eight", yes, but not "eat-eight".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lachlan193956

    Hey That's pretty good


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/.emibella.

    what about rain and reign?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JACKLIKESWINDOWS

    can i plz have a lingot


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wordzzz

    Thank you guys so much this is what makes this site amazing working hard to help others!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LouiseBate3

    Practice and practise Stationary and stationery


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DontCrossTheWall

    germanwannabee took all of the good ones :')


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Navneet2607

    cool that is a lot of homophone


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ianthewizard28

    can i please get a lingot i do not have many i only have 7 please donate a lingot


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ianthewizard28

    hi i am ian and i will make a youtube account later on. and i am going to record and so i am going to leave a comment for u to find me on youtube and my youtube picture will be the pic i have on my cherechter right now


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheOtherJonas

    I'm very sorry to add this comment. I feel terrible, honestly, but for French class I need a whopping 270 lingots to get an A grade by next week. I know many are going to just downvote this comment, I understand... but just one donated lingot would really help out. Thanks!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ste-n-Dee

    You know, there are ways to get as many lingots as you want that don't involve asking anyone else for them. Instead, you do lessons and achieve levels. That sort of thing. You might want to consider earning your 270 lingots in this, the old-fashioned way.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatrickB614

    What do the numbers next to the languages mean?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kdhy11

    A wonderful collection of English homophones and other spelling quirks can be found in a poem by Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar, called

    OWED TO A SPELL-CHECKER,

    sometimes also known as, CANDIDATE FOR A PULLET SURPRIZE:

    [This really needs to be read aloud to appreciate its ingenuity. If someone can explain how to make single-spaced line changes, I'd be grateful.]

    I have a spelling checker,

    It came with my PC.

    It plane lee marks four my revue

    Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

    Eye ran this poem threw it,

    Your sure reel glad two no.

    Its vary polished in it's weigh.

    My checker tolled me sew.

    A checker is a bless sing,

    It freeze yew lodes of thyme.

    It helps me right awl stiles two reed,

    And aides me when eye rime.

    Each frays come posed up on my screen

    Eye trussed too bee a joule.

    The checker pours o'er every word

    To cheque sum spelling rule.

    Bee fore a veiling checker's

    Hour spelling mite decline,

    And if we're lacks oar have a laps,

    We wood bee maid too wine.

    Butt now bee cause my spelling

    Is checked with such grate flare,

    Their are know fault's with in my cite,

    Of nun eye am a wear.

    Now spelling does knot phase me,

    It does knot bring a tier.

    My pay purrs awl due glad den

    With wrapped word's fare as hear.

    To rite with care is quite a feet

    Of witch won should bee proud,

    And wee mussed dew the best wee can,

    Sew flaw's are knot aloud.

    Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays

    Such soft wear four pea seas,

    And why eye brake in two averse

    Buy righting want too pleas.

    http://www.oocities.org/peggyhu/speller.htm

    ATTRIBUTION: Jerrold H. Zar The Graduate School Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL 60115-2864 jhzar@niu.edu

    Published in the Journal of Irreprodicble Results, January/February 1994, page 13. Reprinted ("by popular demand") in the Journal of Irreproducible Results, Vol. 45, No. 5/6, 2000, page 20. Journal of Irreproducible Results, PO Box 234, Chicago Heights IL 60411 USA Phone: 708-747-3717 Fax:708-747-3657 E-mail: jir@interaccess.com Web site: www.jir.com

    NOTE: As a long-time teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) this was a treasured possession, back in the days of hard-copy only. After I lost my copy, the internet proved that it ain't all bad by hosting the poem in multiple places. Enjoy!

    Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.