Introduction to Homonyms (with examples)
The English language can be confusing, even to those who grew up with it as their native tongue. One of the things that trips writers up is Homonyms.
Homonym - from the Greek homonumos meaning
“having the same name.”
A homonym is a group of words that have the same sound and often the same spelling but different meanings.
Homonyms can be broken into three categories.
Homographs: Words spelled alike but different in meaning. Example: combine (to merge or unite) and combine (an agricultural threshing machine)
Homophones: Words pronounced the same but are different in spelling and meaning. Example: pair (couple) and pear (fruit)
Heteronyms: Words that are spelled the same but that differ in pronunciation and meaning. Example: basil (an aromatic herb, pronounced bay-sil) and Basil (a man’s name, pronounced bah-zil)
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I hope this has been of use to you. Homonyms can really mess with a writer. To help clarify the difference between homophones, homographs, and heteronyms, you can read about them by following the links below.
© 2011 Rosa Marchisella