Homonym and Homograph Study Guide
Homonym and Homograph
Grammar is a tricky, inconsistent thing. Being the backbone of speech and writing, it should, we think, be eminently logical, make perfect sense, like the human skeleton. But, of course, the skeleton is arbitrary, too. Why twelve pairs of ribs rather than eleven or thirteen? Why thirty-two teeth? It has something to do with evolution and functionalism—but only ometimes, not always. So there are aspects of grammar that make good, logical sense, and others that do not.
JOHN SIMON (1925– )
Words that sound alike but are spelled differently (homonyms), or are spelled the same but pronounced differently (homographs) are found all throughout the English language. In this lesson, you will learn many (but not nearly all) of the homonyms and homographs that are out there.
If you've ever looked at a dictionary, you know that there are many tricky words in the English language. We see homonyms and homographs in our reading all of the time, which is proof that it is not only knowing how to spell words correctly that is important, but also knowing which word you need to spell in the first place!
Words that are pronounced exactly the same, even though they may be spelled differently, are called homonyms. The list on the following pages shows you some homonyms we use in our everyday lives.
Homographs are words that are spelled exactly the same way, but have completely different meanings. The following list shows some familiar homographs.
A practice exercise for this concept can be found at Homonym and Homograph Practice Exercise.
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