English Words That Will Make You Crazy!


A word has a sound, a meaning and a spelling.......but what if they sound the same but are spelled differently, spelled the same but sound different, same spelling but different meaning.....Enter the world of HOMO and HETER

Homonyms / Homophones / Homographs / Heteronyms

Basically, you will have words that sound the same (See & Sea but have different meaning and spelling) and words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciation and meaning. (Close & close: one is distance - cloS; and the other is the verb to shut something - cloZ)

I teach this stuff but honestly, it is hard to remember and there are better things to take up space in your brain than whether the word is a homonym or a heteronym! Use Homonyms as the big category and then realize that there are 3 other sub-categories.

Well anyway, let's get some examples of these

Example: 1.fair / 2. fair / 3. fair

1 = a county amusement park / 2 = reasonable / 3. light color skin.

1. There is a fair this weekend in Sussex village.                                  2. I will pay whatever you think is a fair price.                                      3. My cousin has a very fair complexion.

 Two - too - to ( number - also - direct)                                           There - they're - their (demonstrative pronoun - contraction of they are - possessive pronoun)                                                                    Tear - tear ( a drop of water from your eye - to rip something)          Lie - lie (an untruth - to lie down)                                                      Read - read ( to look at and comprehend something printed - past tense of this verb, sounds like 'red')                                             Desert - dessert - desert ( dry and - sweets - to abandon)           Close - close ( distance and to shut something)                         Wound - wound ( verb to hurt someone - verb to wrap something around)                                                                                                And one of my favs: bough - bow - bow - bow - bow                     (tree branch - front of a boat - bend at the waist - tied with ribbons - shoots arrows)

Look at these sentences and see the difference:

"I was too close to the door to close it."                                                 "I read a lot of books; last week I read 4 novels."                              "The bandage was wound around the wound."                                "She shed a tear when she saw the tear in her new dress."            "The soldier decided to desert his tasty dessert in the desert."

Another fun English rule is words that are spelled the same and the way you pronounce them indicates what you mean. One way is a noun and the other pronunciation is a verb.

EXport or exPORT "Oil is a big EXport in Canada." "Canada exPORTS a lot of oil."                                                                                   PREsent or preSENT "He gave her a present "( PREsent = a gift)        "I would like to present you with this gift." (preSENT= to show or to give)

Emphasis on the 1st syllable makes it a noun and emphasis on the 2nd syllable makes it a verb.

Noun: PROtest "There's a student protest today."
Verb: proTEST "They're protesting against higher costs."

More examples: https://www.english-at-home.com/pronunciation/noun-and-verb-syllable-stress/

If you would like to improve your English vocabulary knowledge, learn some simple tricks to understand English rules or just want to practice your English conversation, send me a message at OLE Academy-OnlineEnglish. Skype: june.eslteacher or KakaoTalk: juneDR

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