Studying Homophones Study Guide

Updated on Jul 15, 2011

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Studying Homophones Practice Exercises

Okay, let's start with clearing up some understandable confusion. There are homonyms and there are homophones. Are they the same thing? No. Are they similar? Yes. Simply put:

Homonyms are words that have the same spelling but different meanings. For example bear and mean. Bear can refer to "a big, furry animal" or the verb "to carry." Mean can be a "nasty attitude" or "average" in math terms.

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. (Those letters at the end, -phone, mean "sound," as in telephone and microphone.)

In this lesson, we'll take a closer look at homophones. For the most part, homophones are simpler, but since they often get confusing, it is important to get a handle on them.

If you enjoy this lesson and cannot wait to do even more work with homophones, check out the Internet. You'll find websites that have quizzes, games, and many more resources about homophones. Have fun!



  • allowed   (verb) (1) permitted or let have; (2) took into consideration
  • aloud   (adverb) to vocalize or say for others to hear


  • band   (noun) a company of persons joined together, a group of musicians; (verb) to unite together
  • banned   (noun) prohibited by law; (verb) prohibited or barred


  • billed   (adjective) having a bill or beak; (noun) an itemized statement of fees or charges
  • build   (verb) to construct by assembling parts or materials, to establish, increase, or strengthen; (noun) the physical structure of a person


  • browse   (verb) to eat or graze, to look through or glance at casually
  • brows   (noun) the facial hair above the eyes


  • cymbal   (noun) a plate of brass or bronze that produces a sharp, ringing sound when struck; an instrument that is often part of a drum set
  • symbol   (noun) something used for or regarded as representing something else such as a letter, figure, word, phrase, or image


  • discreet   (adjective) judicious or careful in one's conduct and speech, especially in regard to privacy or silence about a secret
  • discrete   (adjective) apart or detached from others, separate or distinct


  • discussed   (verb) talked over or wrote about
  • disgust   (verb) a strong disapproval or revulsion; (noun) nausea, repugnance


  • gorilla   (noun) the largest of the anthropoid apes
  • guerilla   (noun) a member of an irregular military or paramilitary group


  • horse   (noun) a large, solid-hoofed quadruped used for carrying people and loads
  • hoarse   (adjective) having a husky, harsh voice, sometimes due to temporary illness


  • idle   (adjective) not working or active, not in use or operation, frivolous or meaningless, having no basis or reason, groundless or futile; (verb) to pass time doing nothing
  • idol   (noun) an image or other object representing a deity that is worshipped, a person regarded with blind admiration, a figment of the mind or fantasy
  • idyll   (noun) a poem or prose, an episode of charm


  • incite   (verb) to stir, urge on, or prompt to action
  • insight   (noun) a sudden understanding of the true nature of something, an intuitive understanding often used in psychology


  • lessen   (verb) to reduce or make smaller
  • lesson   (noun) something to be learned or studied, a section of a course of study or part of a book or exercise


  • morning   (noun) the first part of the day, usually from dawn until noon; (adjective) pertaining to or occurring in the hours before noon
  • mourning   (noun) the act of someone grieving or sorrowing, the outward symbols of sorrow; (adjective) describing the act of grieving


  • pair   (noun) this word has more than twenty definitions in some resources but for now, let's stick with just two: two identical or similar things that are matched for use together; two individuals who are associated in some way, a couple
  • pear   (noun) a kind of fruit, comes in multiple varieties
  • pare   (verb) to cut off the outer layer, remove by cutting


  • stationary   (adjective) standing still and not moving, a fixed position
  • stationery   (noun) writing paper, writing materials


  • tracked   (verb) followed the trail of, observed the progress of, followed; carried on one's shoes
  • tract   (noun) an expanse of land or other region; a brief publication of spiritual sayings


  • verses   (noun) stanzas or sections of poetry or music
  • versus   (preposition) against or in contrast to


  • weather   (noun) the state of the atmosphere (wind, temperature, precipitation, pressure, etc.) in a given place at a given time; (verb) to expose to the weather; to bear up against something and survive it
  • whether   (conjunction) used to introduce the first of two or more alternatives


  • whirled   (verb) revolved rapidly, rotated, or spun quickly

[Take a moment and picture the bumper sticker "Imagine whirled peas." Chuckle softly. Okay, back to work.]

  • world   (noun) the earth and all the people, places, and things inhabiting it

[Now picture that bumper sticker as saying "Imagine world peace." What a difference a homophone makes!]


  • whine   (verb) to utter a cry or sound of unhappiness, irritation, or complaint; (noun) a peevish or cranky complaint
  • wine   (noun) a drink made from the juice of fermented grapes

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Studying Homophones Practice Exercises

Add your own comment