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The English Language: Homonyms and Homophones

Updated on April 2, 2013

Homonyms and Homophones

Homonyms and Homophones are interesting words that have very special properties.


Homonyms are a set of words which are spelled the same and pronounced the same, but have different meanings.

  • Jet (the object), Jet (the process of Jetting)
  • Mint (a flavor of gum), Mint (the process of creating coinage)
  • Organ (a musical instrument), Organ (Part of a living thing, distinct from the other parts, that is adapted for a specific function)
  • Yard (a patch of grass outside of a house), Yard (a unit of measurement equaling three feet)


Homophones are a set of words which are pronounced the same, but spelled differently.

  • Cell/Sell
  • Chord/Cord
  • Genes/Jeans
  • Hour/Our
  • Moose/Mousse
  • Pair/Pear/Pare
  • Ware/Wear/Where
  • Their/They're/There (See the "Helpful Hubs" section below for an in-depth hub on this topic)
  • To/Too/Two (See the "Helpful Hubs" section below for an in-depth hub on this topic)

Words in Both Categories

Some words are both a homonym and a homophone, as noted below:

  • Grate (the metal piece over a storm drain), Grate (what you do to cheese before putting it on pasta).
  • Grate/Great

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    • profile image

      Tassilyn 2 years ago

      YMMD with that anersw! TX

    • profile image

      Boog 2 years ago

      It's always a relief when someone with obvious exsiptere answers. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Lorena 2 years ago

      Thiiknng like that shows an expert at work

    • Epsilon5 profile image

      Epsilon5 7 years ago from Eastern Pennsylvania

      Glad to be of assistance. :)

    • Mrs. Obvious profile image

      Mrs. Obvious 7 years ago from Northern California

      Loved it. I had forgot the definitions of these.

    • Epsilon5 profile image

      Epsilon5 8 years ago from Eastern Pennsylvania

      You're quite welcome, Rose. :)

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 8 years ago

      We all learn this in school but it's hard to keep them straight! Thanks for the refresher course!