A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning. The words may be spelled the same, such as rose (flower) and rose (past tense of "rise"), or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to, two, and too. Homophones that are spelled the same are also both homographs and homonyms. Homophones that are spelled differently are also called heterographs. The term "homophone" may also apply to units longer or shorter than words, such as phrases, letters or groups of letters that are pronounced the same as another phrase, letter or group of letters. The word derives from the Greek homo- (ὁμο-), "same", and phōnḗ (φωνή), "voice, utterance". The opposite is heterophone: similar, but not phonetically identical words. Homophones are often used to create puns and to deceive the reader (as in crossword puzzles) or to suggest multiple meanings. The last usage is common in poetry and creative literature.
Homophones should be given special attention once students have been introduced to a broader range of vocabulary. Usually by the time students are intermediate learners they will have learned some of these commonly confused words. As in the example above “They’re over there in their car.” it does not take advanced English lessons for students to encounter homophones. Homophones are the topic of this worksheet which turns a classic game, dominos, into an ESL teaching tool. It is just one of the 40 available worksheets on this topic and an activity that students may enjoy.
Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings.
They may be spelled differently such as they’re, there, and their or spelled the same such as rose which can be a noun referring to a flower or the past tense of the verb rise. Students often struggle with homophones so it is important to give them plenty of practice especially with ones that are commonly confused even by native speakers such as your and you’re.
... More About... Less About
Got a great worksheet on Homophones? Tell us about it and become a BusyTeacher contributor!