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Homophones- Learn which word to use when writing a sentence

By Edited Aug 3, 2016 4 24

If you have ever had trouble trying to decide which word to use when writing your creative novel, article or writing on your personal blog then I hope this article will help you learn which word to use. The English language is so confusing with many words that sound the same but have two or three different spellings. This is where the problem is trying to decide which particular spelling fits the subject that you are writing about.

These similar sounding words are called homophones. I do not intend to try in any way to  cover all of the similar sounding homophones as there are hundreds of them. Although, I will add several of those which I think writers have the most problems with.

Homophones Workbook, Grades 3-6
Amazon Price: $159.22 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 3, 2016)
Do you have a child in school? If you answered yes, then maybe this book will help them while they are still young enough to learn before they enter the real big world of English Writing.

Learning which word to use is not always as simple as some people think.

Importance of using the right word in your writing

It is not only the non english speaking people that have trouble with homophones, everyone has trouble with some of these same sounding words because the US spells words differently to England and Australia.  Therefore we are all confused at times.

The hardest part is knowing whether you are writing for an American company because when you spell check your work you correct everything to suit your particular Word document then when you upload it will want you to change to their particular settings. So annoying for everyone.

My list  (not alphabetical as I add some morefrom time to time) of some of these words that may help you with this problem:

Assent/ascent

Assent is to agree or consent. You give Joan assent to bake a cake.
Ascent is to climb or rise up. Jill climbed up a steep ascent.

Alter/altar

John had to alter his text message. People crowded around the church altar.

Assistants/assistance

The shop assistants stopped the thief from leaving the shop. James gave his mother assistance to get up the step with her shopping.

Ate/eight

Tom ate his dinner before going out to play. Eight people are coming to dinner.

Brows/browse

My eye brows need plucking. It took ages to browse through all the specials.

But/ butt

We were having fish for tea but had steak instead. Butt can mean to butt wood together. Or; George has a nice butt. (Persons rear end)

By/bye/buy

They walked by the river. The Eagles had a bye last week. I went to buy a chicken.

Ceiling/sealing

The ceiling in the roof is leaking. The new floor needed sealing before you can walk on it.

Cell/sell

My blood cell count is wrong. We need to sell everything at the garage sale.

Draft/draught

The company made up the monthly draft report. A draught was coming under the door.

For/fore/four

We are going for a walk. Please bring the bucket to the fore. (front) There were four people in the shop

Sew/so/sow

I had to sew a patch on my jeans. The bread is so fresh. We are going to sow the seeds in the paddock.

Pair/pare/pear

John bought a new pair of boots. We will have to pare or peel the potatoes. My pear in my lunch was very juicy.

Flea/flee

I was bitten by a flea. We had to flee before it rained.

Overseas/oversees

We will be going overseas this holiday. The boss always oversees his workers.

Wear/where

Will you wear your new shoes to the dance? Where is the dance going to be held?

Right/write

We all need to learn how to write the right words. I will write another article for Info Barrel today if I can find the right keywords.

Use the Right Word: Modern Guide to Synonyms and Related Words
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(price as of Aug 3, 2016)

Here are a few more that could come in handy:

Made/Maid

I made my bed. I asked the maid to make my bed

Plane/Plain

The plane was due to land any minute.  She had very plain features.

See/Sea

We can see her.  The sea is rough today.

Cent/Sent

I had spent my last cent.  Mum sent me to school early.

Whether/Weather

I did not know whether to wear the red or black dress. They forecast bad weather on the radio.

Son/Sun

Our son is growing fast.  The sun rose earlier than yesterday.

Would/Wood

Would you go to the shop for me?  Can you chop some more wood?

Saw/Sore/Soar

I saw her steal the chocolate. She had a sore on her leg. The eagle can soar high in the sky.

Flue/Flu/Flew

The chimney flue was blocked. She is sick with the flu. The bird flew high in the sky.

Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones
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(price as of Aug 3, 2016)
Children will love learning as this teaches with the aid of graphics which I believe will appeal to children more
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Comments

Aug 4, 2011 10:29am
Deborah-Diane
This is such a helpful list. I see so many words used incorrectly in articles ... not just here, but on other sites, too. My niece, who is a college graduate, uses your instead of you're all the time. Drives me crazy!
Aug 4, 2011 10:40am
eileen
Thank Deborah, I know I used to make so many of them. My pet hate is people saying I brought it at the shop instead of bought. And also then and than. But I covered those on the other article Write the right words.
Aug 5, 2011 9:41am
JudyE
Great article! My pet hate is using - it's - improperly. You see it in ads and on huge billboards, in shops and cafes. I've always wanted to write and say something but I've never been brave enough.
Aug 7, 2011 12:39am
eileen
Yes I know what you mean you see these mistakes all the time even by good writers. Hey go for it, if someone says it nicely they could appreciate it. If they don't then that is there perogative too I reckon, we all need help at times. I need it that's for sure more times than enough.
Aug 5, 2011 6:19pm
Introspective
Great article with very helpful information!
Aug 7, 2011 12:41am
eileen
Thanks intro, I hope so, if it helps someone then that's good.
Aug 7, 2011 10:22am
danmont
Very useful list. Thanks for sharing.
Aug 8, 2011 7:06am
eileen
Thanks danmont, hope it comes in useful
Aug 12, 2011 8:47am
Lynsuz
Very helpful list. They're, their and there are the ones I see misused a lot.
Aug 14, 2011 5:54am
eileen
Yes they are a problem, BUT I have covered all of those in my other article learn how to write the right words the link at bottom of this article.
Aug 17, 2011 12:17pm
divaonline
It's fun to go through the list and see how many I struggle with. Altar is aat the top of my list. Just a note - draught is the British version of the American word draft and either is correct and can mean a preliminary form of writing, a drawing, or a moving current of air.
Aug 19, 2011 12:24am
eileen
Thanks diva, yes but the trouble is there are so many different variations used by america which is different to england and Oz.
Aug 20, 2011 6:37am
SharonWatterson
American English and British English, could you believe them to be so different? Knitting patterns are written in both. This article's theme is spot on...English in any sense of the word is not easy to decipher.
Aug 20, 2011 12:41pm
Tom_Carver
A very wordy article. I meant worthy, of course. A very difficult subject to approach but you have clarified many words and their correct usages. Great work!
Aug 21, 2011 9:03am
eileen
deepakluv thanks

Sharon Watterson, yes it is so frustrating
when writing anything these days we have to keep replacing an s with z when we write or having to spell words like centre in oz but center in us.

Tom carver, yes there are so many different words or homophones that sound the same
Aug 30, 2011 8:48pm
esemchoy
Nice pack of common words that are sometimes used by mistake. Thanks.
Sep 2, 2011 7:53am
eileen
Thanks esemchoy, There are so msany different hommophones that it is hard to pick out even a few.
Sep 5, 2011 1:39pm
footloose
Wonderful reminder! I love good articles about word usage and meanings. Writing them is so fun to do also. Thumbs up!
Sep 6, 2011 6:47am
eileen
Thanks so much footloose, Yes and we all need reminders about all the mistakes that we all make from time to time.
Sep 10, 2011 5:59am
radhikasree
The above set of comments reveal that what great article you wrote. Could inspire so many with a note to remind them, "write the right words". I'm also one among the "many" with a thumbs up!!
Oct 6, 2012 9:00pm
eileen
Thanks radhikasree, yes I wrote that article a long time before I wrote this one. We all make mistakes, I still do, but need this sort of reminders to help
Oct 5, 2012 10:01pm
Januarius
Eileen, A very good English lesson for me who is not native to Ennglish Language.The new word I have learnt in the lesson is "homophone



Oct 6, 2012 9:01pm
eileen
Thanks Januarius, Yes I had to learn that one too. And there are actually hundreds more that could be added to this list.
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