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Homophones – CSEET

Homophones – CSEET


The word, homo, means “same,” and phone means “sound.” Homophones are two words that sound the same, but have different meanings. For example, the words two – too, ate – eight, there- their, in-inn, ring-wring or more difficult, like principal-principle, stationary stationery, except-accept. These are called homonyms. These words have to be cautiously used while writing.

Some more examples:

(1)   Access, Excess

Access : The workers could access the manager freely. (approach)

Excess : The production is far in excess to the target. (more than)

(2)   Advice, Advise

Advice is a noun the end-sound is-s.

Anyone can offer advice.

Advise is a verb and the end sound is-z.

My father advised me to work hard.

(3)   Ate, Eight

Ate is the simple past tense of the verb “to eat.”

I ate an entire pizza and now I’m really full and tired.

Eight is noun, the number after seven and before nine.

Charles will wake up at eight o’clock tomorrow morning.

(4)   Bare, Bear

Bare (adjective): If something is bare, it means that it’s not covered or not decorated.

Tom likes to walk around his house in bare feet. He says it’s more comfortable than wearing shoes.

Bear (noun): A large mammal.

When you go camping, you should be careful to not leave any food or anything with a scent in your tent because they can attract bears.

(5)   Cell, sell

Cell (noun): A cell is a small area or room, usually in a prison. A cell can also be one of the smallest divisions of a living organism.

The prisoner spent 10 years in his cell.

To sell (verb): To exchange a product or service for money. Like “buy, ” it was probably one of the first verbs you learned.

We would like to sell our car, but we don’t think we’d get very much money for it.

A homophone can be defined as a word that, when pronounced, seems similar to another word, but has a different spelling and meaning. For example, the words “bear” and “bare” are similar in pronunciation, but are different in spelling as well as in meaning. Sometimes the words may have the same spelling, such as “rose,” the past tense of rise, and “rose,” the flower. Mostly, however, they are spelled differently, such as:

  • carrot
  • caret
  • carat

In literature, homophones are used extensively in poetry and prose to make rhythmic effects, and to put emphasis on something. They are also used to create a multiplicity of meanings in a written piece.

Types of Homophone

There are five different types of homophone:

  1. Homograph – Some homophones are similar in spelling, but different in meanings. They are called homographs. For instance, “hail” meaning an ice storm, and “hail” meaning something that occurs in large numbers, such as “a hail of bullets.”
  2. Homonym – Some words have the same pronunciation but different meanings. These are called homonyms. For instance, “cite,” “sight,” and “site.”
  3. Heterograph – Homophones that have different spellings but are pronounced in the same way are called heterographs. For instance, “write” and “right.”
  4. Oronym – Homophones that have multiple words or phrases, having similar sounds, are called oronyms. For instance, “ice cream” and “I scream.”
  5. Pseudo-homophone – Homophones that are identical phonetically are called pseudo-homophones. In this type of homophone, one of the pair of words is not a real word, such as “groan” and “grone.”

Examples of Homophone in Literature

Example 1: Where Truth’s Wind Blew

Sole owner am I of this sorry soul …
pour out corruption’s slag from every pore —
whole slates scrape clean! they leave no gaping hole.
Role that I’ve played, loose grip! while back I roll,
or dodge each wave, or with firm grip on oar
bore through this sea, snout down, just like the boar …”

This poem is filled with examples of homophone, which are marked in bold. They create a humorous effect in the poem through their same pronunciations but altogether different meanings.

Example 2: A Hymn to God the Father 

“When Thou hast done,
Thou hast not done for I have more.
That at my death Thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore
And having done that, Thou hast done;
I fear no more.”

John Done has used the name of his wife Anne and his own name Donne as homophones. In addition, he makes use of the word “son” instead of “sun,” to refer to Christ. They are also homophones.

Example 3: The Importance of Being Earnest (By Oscar Wilde)

“On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest …”

“I always told you, Gwendolen, my name was Ernest, didn’t I? Well, it is Ernest after all. I mean it naturally is Ernest. “

In these excerpts, Oscar Wilde used the word earnest as a homophone. Here, Jack Earnest is talking to his Aunt Augusta and mocks his family. Jack finds out that his father’s name makes him really earnest.

Example 4: Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)

“Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.”

“Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes. With nimble soles; I have a soul of lead. So stakes me to the ground I cannot move …”

Some of Shakespeare’s famous literary pieces are rich with homophone examples. One of which is the above  excerpt where he uses the words “sole” and “soul” as homophones. Romeo talks about soles of his shoes, and the soul of his heart, which is heavy with sorrow.

Example 5: Richard III (By William Shakespeare)

“Now is the winter of our discontent … made glorious summer by this Son of York.”

Here, Shakespeare uses two words similar in pronunciation, “sun” and “son,” which are homophones. The Duke of York has a son named Edward, who is also taken as a sun whose rising power would create trouble for Richard.

Function of Homophone

The purpose of homophones in literature is to create humorous effect by using words that have two or more meanings. In everyday life, these words are employed intentionally in witty remarks. In addition, these give meaning to a literary piece of work, and writers reveal the ingenuity of their characters through the use of homophones.

Homophones in the English Language

accessary, accessory
ad, add
ail, ale
air, heir
aisle, I’ll, isle
all, awl
allowed, aloud
alms, arms
altar, alter
arc, ark
aren’t, aunt
ate, eight
auger, augur
auk, orc
aural, oral
away, aweigh
awe, oar, or, ore
axel, axle
aye, eye, I
bail, bale
bait, bate
baize, bays
bald, bawled
ball, bawl
band, banned
bard, barred
bare, bear
bark, barque
baron, barren
base, bass
bay, bey
bazaar, bizarre
be, bee
beach, beech
bean, been
beat, beet
beau, bow
beer, bier
bel, bell, belle
berry, bury
berth, birth
bight, bite, byte
billed, build
bitten, bittern
blew, blue
bloc, block
boar, bore
board, bored
boarder, border
bold, bowled
boos, booze
born, borne
bough, bow
boy, buoy
brae, bray
braid, brayed
braise, brays, braze
brake, break
bread, bred
brews, bruise
bridal, bridle
broach, brooch
bur, burr
but, butt
buy, by, bye
buyer, byre
calendar, calender
call, caul
canvas, canvass
cast, caste
caster, castor
caught, court
caw, core, corps
cede, seed
ceiling, sealing
cell, sell
censer, censor, sensor
cent, scent, sent
cereal, serial
cheap, cheep
check, cheque
choir, quire
chord, cord
cite, sight, site
clack, claque
clew, clue
climb, clime
close, cloze
coal, kohl
coarse, course
coign, coin
colonel, kernel
complacent, complaisant
complement, compliment
coo, coup
cops, copse
council, counsel
cousin, cozen
creak, creek
crews, cruise
cue, kyu, queue
curb, kerb
currant, current
cymbol, symbol
dam, damn
days, daze
dear, deer
descent, dissent
desert, dessert
deviser, divisor
dew, due
die, dye
discreet, discrete
doe, doh, dough
done, dun
douse, dowse
draft, draught
dual, duel
earn, urn
eery, eyrie
ewe, yew, you
faint, feint
fah, far
fair, fare
farther, father
fate, fête
faun, fawn
fay, fey
faze, phase
feat, feet
ferrule, ferule
few, phew
fie, phi
file, phial
find, fined
fir, fur
fizz, phiz
flair, flare
flaw, floor
flea, flee
flex, flecks
flew, flu, flue
floe, flow
flour, flower
foaled, fold
for, fore, four
foreword, forward
fort, fought
forth, fourth
foul, fowl
franc, frank
freeze, frieze
friar, fryer
furs, furze
gait, gate
galipot, gallipot
gallop, galop
gamble, gambol
gays, gaze
genes, jeans
gild, guild
gilt, guilt
giro, gyro
gnaw, nor
gneiss, nice
gorilla, guerilla
grate, great
greave, grieve
greys, graze
grisly, grizzly
groan, grown
guessed, guest
hail, hale
hair, hare
hall, haul
hangar, hanger
hart, heart
haw, hoar, whore
hay, hey
heal, heel, he’ll
hear, here
heard, herd
he’d, heed
heroin, heroine
hew, hue
hi, high
higher, hire
him, hymn
ho, hoe
hoard, horde
hoarse, horse
holey, holy, wholly
hour, our
idle, idol
in, inn
indict, indite
it’s, its
jewel, joule
key, quay
knave, nave
knead, need
knew, new
knight, night
knit, nit
knob, nob
knock, nock
knot, not
know, no
knows, nose
laager, lager
lac, lack
lade, laid
lain, lane
lam, lamb
laps, lapse
larva, lava
lase, laze
law, lore
lay, ley
lea, lee
leach, leech
lead, led
leak, leek
lean, lien
lessen, lesson
levee, levy
liar, lyre
licence, license
licker, liquor
lie, lye
lieu, loo
links, lynx
lo, low
load, lode
loan, lone
locks, lox
loop, loupe
loot, lute
made, maid
mail, male
main, mane
maize, maze
mall, maul
manna, manner
mantel, mantle
mare, mayor
mark, marque
marshal, martial
marten, martin
mask, masque
maw, more
me, mi
mean, mien
meat, meet, mete
medal, meddle
metal, mettle
meter, metre
might, mite
miner, minor, mynah
mind, mined
missed, mist
moat, mote
mode, mowed
moor, more
moose, mousse
morning, mourning
muscle, mussel
naval, navel
nay, neigh
nigh, nye
none, nun
od, odd
ode, owed
oh, owe
one, won
packed, pact
packs, pax
pail, pale
pain, pane
pair, pare, pear
palate, palette, pallet
pascal, paschal
paten, patten, pattern
pause, paws, pores, pours
pawn, porn
pea, pee
peace, piece
peak, peek, peke, pique
peal, peel
pearl, purl
pedal, peddle
peer, pier
pi, pie
pica, pika
place, plaice
plain, plane
pleas, please
plum, plumb
pole, poll
poof, pouffe
practice, practise
praise, prays, preys
principal, principle
profit, prophet
quarts, quartz
quean, queen
rain, reign, rein
raise, rays, raze
rap, wrap
raw, roar
read, reed
read, red
real, reel
reek, wreak
rest, wrest
retch, wretch
review, revue
rheum, room
right, rite, wright, write
ring, wring
road, rode
roe, row
role, roll
roo, roux, rue
rood, rude
root, route
rose, rows
rota, rotor
rote, wrote
rough, ruff
rouse, rows
rung, wrung
rye, wry
saver, savour
spade, spayed
sale, sail
sane, seine
satire, satyr
sauce, source
saw, soar, sore
scene, seen
scull, skull
sea, see
seam, seem
sear, seer, sere
seas, sees, seize
sew, so, sow
shake, sheikh
shear, sheer
shoe, shoo
sic, sick
side, sighed
sign, sine
sink, synch
slay, sleigh
sloe, slow
sole, soul
some, sum
son, sun
sort, sought
spa, spar
staid, stayed
stair, stare
stake, steak
stalk, stork
stationary, stationery
steal, steel
stile, style
storey, story
straight, strait
sweet, suite
swat, swot
tacks, tax
tale, tail
talk, torque
tare, tear
taught, taut, tort
te, tea, tee
team, teem
tear, tier
teas, tease
terce, terse
tern, turn
there, their, they’re
threw, through
throes, throws
throne, thrown
thyme, time
tic, tick
tide, tied
tire, tyre
to, too, two
toad, toed, towed
told, tolled
tole, toll
ton, tun
tor, tore
tough, tuff
troop, troupe
tuba, tuber
vain, vane, vein
vale, veil
vial, vile
wail, wale, whale
wain, wane
waist, waste
wait, weight
waive, wave
wall, waul
war, wore
ware, wear, where
warn, worn
wart, wort
watt, what
wax, whacks
way, weigh, whey
we, wee, whee
weak, week
we’d, weed
weal, we’ll, wheel
wean, ween
weather, whether
weaver, weever
weir, we’re
were, whirr
wet, whet
wheald, wheeled
which, witch
whig, wig
while, wile
whine, wine
whirl, whorl
whirled, world
whit, wit
white, wight
who’s, whose
woe, whoa
wood, would
yaw, yore, your, you’re
yoke, yolk
you’ll, yule

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