Homonyms are two words that are spelled the same and/or sound the same but have two different meanings.
An example is “bat.” A bat is the hunk of wood used to hit baseballs, and it is also the name of the arguably adorable winged creature of the night. These two words are spelled the same and sound the same.
An example of a word that is spelled differently but sounds the same is “son” and “sun.” “Son” means a person’s child, while “sun” means that gigantic orange thing in the sky.
Here are more examples of homonyms that are both spelled the same and sound the same:
address: to speak to / location
arm: a part of the body / a part of a company
band: a musical group / a ring
bark: the outer part of a tree / the sound a dog makes
bright: very smart / filled with light
current: up to date / the flow of water
die: to stop living / a cube labeled with numbers one through six
duck: a type of bird / to lower oneself
express: something done quickly / to show your thoughts
fly: a type of insect / to soar through the air
kind: a type of something / caring
lie: to recline / to not tell the truth
pound: a unit of weight / to beat
right: the correct answer / left’s opposite
rock: a type of music / a stone
rose: to have gotten up / a type of flower
spring: one of the seasons / coiled metal
tire: to become fatigued / a part of a wheel
well: the opposite of sick / a source for water in the ground
Here are more examples of homonyms that sound the same but are spelled differently:
berry / bury: a type of fruit / to cover in something
brake / break: to stop / to injure a bone or to rest
cereal / serial: a breakfast food / to do something repeatedly
eye / I: a body part / the opposite of you
groan / grown: an unhappy sound / to have become big
hear / here: to experience sound / opposite of there
hi / high: a greeting / up above
him / hymn: opposite of her / a type of song
feat / feet: an accomplishment / a body part and unit of measurement
flower / flour: a type of plant / an ingredient in baking
flew / flu: to have traveled through the air / a type of sickness
knight / night: a medieval soldier / the opposite of day
know / no: to understand / the opposite of yes
meet / meat: to be introduced / animal flesh
one / won: the number before two / the opposite of lost
pail / pale: a type of container / the opposite of dark
pair / pear: a couple / a type of fruit
rap / wrap: a type of music / to cover something
see / sea: to look at something / a big body of water
weak / week: not strong / seven days in a row
Erin Servais is the founder of Dot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of editing, coaching, and social media packages.
One of the most common errors I see as a copy editor is when people write the verb lead in the past tense incorrectly. It gets confusing because the past tense of lead is led, and led is pronounced the same way as the noun lead (the metal). And so people end up writing lead instead of led for the verb’s past tense.
Are you confused yet? Let me show you how you can remember the difference.
In the past tense, the verb lead sounds exactly like the verb bleed, just without the B. Bleed becomes bled, and lead becomes led.
He bled on his new shirt.
He led the race.
He cut himself shaving and bled.
He led the senator’s campaign.
Remember: If you find yourself questioning your spelling of lead in the past tense, recall that it’s the same as bleed in the past tense. Bleed becomes bled, and lead becomes led.
Erin Servais is a book editor and author coach who helps authors at all stages of the writing process. If you have finished your book, or you are struggling to finish your book, get in touch to learn how she can help you. You can check out her website or email her at Erin@dotanddashllc.com.
Erin Servais is a book editor and coach of author-entrepreneurs, helping writers through every stage of book creation and after. To learn how she can help you with your next project, check out Dot and Dash LLCor email her at Erin@dotanddashllc.com.
I got the idea for today’s post from the podcast A Way With Words. I’m super in love with this show, and I recommend it for everyone who is interested in English word origins and other language topics.
Native English speakers have ideas about how languages they do not speak sound. There are certain noises we can string together that imitate our idea of another language—noises that if we were to make to a speaker of that language would sound like gibberish.
Here’s a video of one English speaker speaking what he thinks sounds like several foreign languages:
Ever wonder how English sounds to people who don’t speak it?
Youtube has a treasure trove of videos showing just this: English-sounding gibberish. Here’s a collection for you to enjoy.
This is a song made for Italian TV in which the singer sings entirely in sounds he interprets as sounding like English. (Also note the awesome background dancers!)
Here is a song in “fake” English from an Argentinian band:
Skwerl is a short film that plays with the same idea. In it, a couple speaks in “fake” English. One aspect I like about it is that even though they are not saying real words, the audience can still understand the emotions and ideas portrayed.
Here are more examples of foreign language speakers’ interpretation of English: