Homophones — A List from A to Z (Almost)

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 And the author said, “Seven days without writing makes one weak.”

Old joke, I know. But it’s a good introduction to the world of homophones. The word homophone comes from the Greek prefix, homo (meaning same), combined with the Greek root word, phone (meaning sound). Homophones are words that sound the same but have total different meaning. On rainy days when we couldn’t go out for recess, Mrs. Ramsey, my fifth grade grammar teacher, used to give us worksheets to practice homophones. She thought it was fun to puzzle out which word would fit into a sentence.  She was old; she didn’t really understand “fun”.

Homophones can be troublesome

Homophones are fractious to say the least, and can frustrate writers spelling checkers don’t find them. That’s the job of good editing.

Homophones can also be stumbling blocks for speakers. The only way a listener knows which word a speaker is using is through context. This is especially difficult for listeners whose primary language is not English. When a word used doesn’t fit the meaning they were taught, understanding is hindered.

Here’s an A,B,C list of common homophones. . .
A Ad = Advertisement Add = combining things
B Band = a group of musicians Banned = excluded
C Coarse = rough Course = route
D Discussed = talked over Disgust = revulsion
E Ewe = female sheep You = person being addressed
F Flee = run away Flea = bug
G Grate = make into small pieces Great = large or important
H Hire = give somebody work Higher = above
I Idle = not working Idol = object of worship
J Jeans = denim pants Genes = basic unit of heredity
K Knead = work the dough Need = require
L Leased = rented Least = the smallest amount
M Maize = corn Maze = confusing paths
N No = Negative or none Know = acquainted with
O Overdo = exceeded Overdue = late
P Patience = endurance Patients = people given medical treatment
Q Quarts = One fourth of a gallon Quartz = crystal mineral
R Rain = precipitation Rein = horses bridle
S Sail = travel by boat Sale = period of reduced prices
T Toad = frog-like creature Towed = pulled behind
U Undo = unfasten Undue = unwarranted
V Vane = measures wide direction Vein = vessel carrying blood
w Way = route Weigh = determine how heavy
X Xi = 14th letter of the Greek alphabet Psi = 23rd letter in Greek alphabet
Y Yoke = harness Yolk = yellow part of an egg
Z I give up – almost did it

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