Oleh: Asih Zunaidah, S.S., M.Li
An English learner might already know a few sets of words that sound the same, but they do not have the same spelling. That is what we call ‘homophone’ – two or more words that have the same pronunciation but often have different spelling and meaning. Not only in English, many other languages in the world have homophones in their vocabulary. Since English has different vowel sounds and some silent letters, not to mention other language’s influence, it requires the learners to be aware of the homophones to avoid misspelling in their writing.
The following sets of words are included as homophones. You might have already recognized them:
- Two, too, to (/tu:/)
In this trio, ‘two’ is a NOUN (the number after ‘one’); ‘too’ is an ADVERB which is the synonym of ‘also; and ‘to’ is a PREPOSITION indicating a direction towards something.
- Flower, flour (/flauƱe(r)/)
In this pair, ‘flower’ is a NOUN meaning a part of a plant, while ‘flour’ is a NOUN meaning powder made of grains. Although they both are from the same part of speech, these two have completely different meaning.
- Their, they’re, there (/δeә(r)/)
These words are often confusing some English learners as they pronounce the same. ‘Their’ is a POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVE belonging to the pronoun ‘they’; ‘They’re’ is the CONTRACTION of ‘they are’; and ‘There’ is an ADVERB.
- Sweet, suite (/swi:t/)
There are still some learners pronouncing ‘suite’ as /soot/ while it is incorrect. In fact, ‘Suite’ is pronounced the same as ‘sweet’ but have entirely different meaning. ‘Suite’ is a NOUN meaning type of room in a hotel, while ‘sweet’ is an ADJECTIVE (or noun) that means containing a lot of sugar (this is the adjective’s definition).
- Wear, where (/weә(r)/
Some learners pronounce ‘wear’ as /wi:r/ while it should have been pronounced exactly the same as ‘where’. ‘Wear’ is a VERB meaning to have clothing or something on your body, while ‘where’ is a CONJUCTION/ QUESTION WORD pertaining to a location.
These five sets conclude our list in this article, but the next sets are going to be discussed in the next article. Stay tuned, learners!
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