5 Types of homophones and commonly confused homophones

types of homophones

We are going to look at types of homophones and commonly confused homophones in this post. The words which are pronounced in the same way but have different meanings are called homophones. At times they are spelled similarly and at times they aren’t.

Remember that not all types of homophones are the same.

The first out of 5 types of homophones is Homonyms are two words that sound the same but have different spellings and also different meanings. For example, ‘not’ and ‘knot’ are homonyms as well as homophones. 

Further, homophones are classified as homographs and heterographs.

In the types of homophones, Homographs is of the second type and these are such words that are spelled in the same way but they can be pronounced differently and have different meanings too. For example, “roll” as in “Roll the dice”, and “roll” as in “I’ll have a chicken roll.”

On the other hand, there are Heterographs which are words that are spelled differently and they also have different meanings but are still pronounced in the same way. For example, “piece” and “peace”, are pronounced in the same way but have different spellings and meanings.

The next type is heteronyms which are words that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently and have different meanings. For example, “Lead the group” and “Pencils are made up of lead.”

Lastly, there are synophones which are words that sound almost but not quite the same and also have different meanings. Inquiry and enquiry are examples of synophones. 

You must have noticed that homophones are different yet they sound similar, which is the biggest reason why English learners can get confused.

Let us look at a short list of commonly confused homophones,

  • Then/than
  • To/too/two
  • There/their/they’re
  • Your/you’re
  • Affect/effect
  • Whether/weather/wether
  • Brake/break
  • Principal/principle
  • Program/programme
  • Week/weak
  • Waste/waist
  • Bear/bare
  • Be/bee
  • Whole/hole

Now that you know what are homophones and how they can be differentiated, don’t forget to practice them and be careful when using them!

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