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English Homophones

Updated on April 2, 2013
A pair of pears
A pair of pears | Source

A homophone is a word that shares its pronunciation with another word, but that differs in meaning from that word, regardless of whether the spelling is the same. Used in the construction of puns due to the ability to layer meanings through identically sounding words, and often engendering great confusion in native and non-native English speakers alike, homophones are particularly prevalent in the English language, appear frequently in literary material, and should therefore be studied carefully in order to enable their identification and to alleviate confusion surrounding their usage. As a literature student, I am frequently confronted with such words, and have become increasingly interested in the vast number that exist within English, and the difficulties that they may present to English speakers, particularly to those who learn it as a second language. The following simple sentences include just a few of the many homophones used daily:

Is boar watching a bore?
Is boar watching a bore? | Source
Hit the brake or potentially break a bone!
Hit the brake or potentially break a bone! | Source
A pale pail?
A pale pail? | Source
I wore the helmet into war
I wore the helmet into war | Source
Is there time to add thyme?
Is there time to add thyme? | Source
  • I like to add batteries to my remote so that I can skip every ad on the television at night.

  • I didn't know that there are no snakes in Ireland.

  • During his coronation, the young heir had to step outside for some fresh air.

  • Mum says we’re not allowed to speak aloud after lights out.

  • I knew that the new wallpaper would look much better.

  • We’re not supposed to alter the church altar in any way.

  • Last night I ate five potatoes and eight sausages.

  • I cannot bear to go bare during the winter.

  • I always play my bass guitar at the base of my room, due to improved acoustics.

  • The baron was forced to sell his land due to the sudden drought that had rendered it barren.

  • Boar hunting is such a bore.

  • The boy would have drowned if not for the life buoy.

  • If you don’t hit the bike’s brake with enough time to spare, you’re likely to fall and break a bone.

  • The bridal party rode into the reception on a number of horses, each donning a saddle and a bridle.

  • By the time I said bye to my friend, the gift shop had closed and I could no longer buy my mother a birthday present.

  • It’s important to check the amount of money on a cheque before you cash it.

  • Of course a horse’s mane is thick and coarse.

  • If you don’t get enough sleep you’ll spend the rest of your days wandering around in a daze.

  • Those who desert the dinner table will never be rewarded with dessert.

  • It isn’t fair that the taxi fare cost so much money.

  • There was a great flaw in his method of polishing the timber floor.

  • This cake recipe calls for eggs, flour, butter, sugar, and a decorative flower on top.

  • If you can’t hear properly from back there, you need to move down here, toward the front.

  • I lost respect for my idol when I caught him standing idle during the emergency.

  • Nothing will lessen the severe boredom engendered by this lesson.

  • I made my maid cook my breakfast.

  • The male who delivers our mail is extremely handsome.

  • She liked to meddle to such a high degree that she ought to have been awarded a medal for it.

  • My hand was in intense pain after I accidentally punched it through the windowpane.

  • There was a pair or oranges and one pear in the fruit bowl, which my father immediately started to trim and pare with his knife.

  • Until the kids fit every piece of the jigsaw puzzle, I’ll have some peace and quiet.

  • We rode down the parched, rocky road.

  • A knight is always stealthier under the cover of night.

  • To go overseas with my two friends simply costs too much money.

  • After we spar a little, let’s go relax in the spa.

  • ‘You haven’t painted this side properly,’ I sighed heavily.

  • If it seems that the seams of your clothes are coming loose, you must get them fixed.

  • My son loves playing in the sun.

  • My cat’s tail flicked impatiently as I uttered a lengthy tale to my family.

  • There is always enough time to add thyme to the recipe.

  • I don’t know whether or not you’ve decided to go away next week, but apparently the weather isn’t going to be very nice.

  • Who's going to tell me whose name I’ve forgotten?

  • He wore the helmet into war.

  • If you disguise yourself as a prophet and do readings for the public, you’re bound to make a profit.

  • We’re on the same plane only if you’re thinking of painting your house blue rather than keeping it white and plain.

  • I lodged my savings in the bank before heading down to the river bank.

  • He rose from between the rows of seats, offering her a single red rose.

  • I have to haul the decorations through the hall every single Christmas.

  • He turned ghostly pale when he spilt the entire pail of milk.

  • He took a bow after successfully swinging from the bough of a large oak tree.

  • They're some of the best artists in the world, their work having been displayed here and there all over the globe on numerous occasions.

As I said, this is by no means a complete list of English homophones, but it is a collection of ones that are used frequently. I hope you found this selection enlightening, and are better able to gauge the vast number of words that share similarities within this extremely broad language. If you're interested in words and language you might also enjoy the following Hubs:


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    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      samwrites21, really interesting and informational article that you have written here. i love the list of homophones that you have included so that anyone can get a better understand of what a homophone actually is. thanks and voted up.