Why Do These English Words Look And Sound Alike Ep 678

A photo of meat, and a couple meeting. How to Master English Homonyms: Don't Miss This Must-Listen Quiz Episode!

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 3610 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 19 min

📥 Download MP3 & PDF 11.5 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript ▪️ 🎧 Listen to Lesson

Stop Struggling, Start Speaking! Unlock the Mystery of English Homonyms With Our Latest English Grammar Lesson!

Tired of mixing up 'there' and 'their'? Confused when to use 'buy,' 'by,' or 'bye'? Master the tricky terrain of English homonyms with our expert guidance! 🎯

Why You'll Love This Lesson:

  • 📚 Uncover the Secrets of 'Homonyms' in English
  • 🗣️ Learn REAL-WORLD Examples
  • 💡 Ace Your Vocabulary with Common Examples: 'Weather' vs 'Whether,' 'Cent' vs 'Scent'
  • 🤓 Get SMART with Greek Word Origins
  • 🎉 Test Yourself with an Interactive QUIZ

✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/grammar-english-homonyms-explained-quiz-included/

I'm not a teacher, but an awakener.
⭐ Robert Frost

Struggling with homonyms or phrasal verbs? Our latest podcast tackles common #EnglishChallenges to streamline your learning journey. We don't just teach you; we make sure you 'get it.' With a click, you'll dive into a lesson packed with value and practical examples. Learn from us, and say goodbye to English confusion forever!

Have you ever found yourself tangled in the web of English homonyms, homophones, and homographs? Imagine finally unlocking the mystery behind confusing words like 'tear' and 'tear' or 'cent' and 'sent.'

What if I told you this Adept English lesson will explain all the puzzling problems, using real-life examples making things simple? Well, join in today's English lesson! It not only uncovers all you will ever need to know about homonyms but it will also test your newfound knowledge with a quiz to keep you on your toes!

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.
⭐ Frank Smith

Tune in and give it a go with an #englishquiz! Want to speak English like a Brit? From 'bye' to 'meet,' get the low-down on #britishenglish with our latest podcast!

Get on board NOW! ⏰ You're just a lesson away from levelling up your English game. 🚀 Don't miss out. Your road to fluency starts HERE. 👇 Speak Easy, Speak Adept. ✌️

More About This Lesson

Do you find English confusing because of words that look or sound the same but mean different things? Adept English is here to help! In this special lesson, we'll dive into the complex world of homonyms, homophones, and homographs. With quizzes and real-life examples, we make sure you grasp these tricky parts of English.

The more you read and write, the more you broaden the wellspring of your knowledge.
⭐ Anne Lamott

Things you will learn listening to this English grammar lesson:, you will discover:

  1. Addresses Difficult Topics: Tackles challenging areas like homonyms, phrasal verbs, and idioms.
  2. Contextual Explanation: Uses real-world examples to clarify homonyms.
  3. Quizzes for Self-Assessment: Adds a quiz at the end for self-testing.
  4. Varied Content: Touches on pronunciation, word order, and sentence structure.
  5. Multiple Learning Channels: Utilizes auditory and visual aids.
  6. Encourages Active Searching: Directs learners to additional resources.
  7. Use of Real-World Idioms: Incorporates practical idioms into the lesson.
  8. Currency in Learning: Leverages platforms like Reddit for insights.
  9. Step-by-Step Clarification: Simplifies complex terms like "homonyms."
  10. Interactive Structure: Promotes checking answers through multiple outlets.

Benefits of our listen & learn approach to learning

  • Better Understanding: This lesson helps you understand words that are often mixed up. For example, words like "new" and "knew" won't confuse you any more.
  • Improved Pronunciation: Tune in and learn how to say tricky words the right way.
  • Practical Learning: Get real-world examples and quizzes to help you use your English skills in everyday life.
  • Boost Confidence: Say goodbye to feeling lost in English conversations or being scared you’ll say the wrong thing.
Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
⭐ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Context is King: Learn how to identify the correct word based on sentence context. Never get puzzled with words like "weather" and "whether" again!

  • Types of Homonyms: Learn about homonyms, homophones, and homographs and why they're different.

  • Quizzes for Learning: Test yourself with quizzes to make sure you really understand.

  • Real-world Application: Use what you learn in real conversations.

  • British English Focus: This lesson is in British English, which can be different from American English.

  • Help us make more content with a donation https://adeptengli.sh/donate

Crack the Code of Homonyms: Master commonly confused English words like "their," "they're," and "there." Gain a clear understanding of homonyms, homophones, and homographs.

  1. Speak Confidently: Understanding tricky words helps you speak English more naturally.
  2. Avoid Mistakes: When you know the right word to use, you make fewer errors.
  3. Save Time: No need to look up words while speaking or writing, which saves you time.

Don't wait! Hit the play button now and start learning. Follow Adept English and click the subscribe button for more lessons that make English easier for you!

Questions You Might Have...

Navigating through English homonyms with this lesson is like embarking on a treasure hunt through a linguistic labyrinth. Each turn—whether it's homophones, homographs, or other homonyms—presents a puzzle to solve, enriching your grasp of the English language. Just like in any treasure hunt, clues (examples and explanations here) guide you, and the prize? A quiz at the end to certify your newfound mastery. Ah, the joy of cracking the code of English homonyms! It's exhilarating, isn't it?

  1. What are Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs? Homonyms are words that either sound the same, spell the same, or both. Homophones are a type of homonym that sound identical but spell differently, like 'plane' and 'plain'. Homographs are the opposite; they spell the same but may sound different, like 'lead' in "You lead the way" versus 'lead' in "a lead pencil." To excel in British English, a firm grasp of these terms is essential. Their nuances often pop up in both casual chats and academic writing.
  2. How Do Homonyms Relate to British Culture? In British English, certain homonyms take on a unique cultural context. Take 'bye,' for instance, which is a customary way of saying farewell in Britain. Learning the cultural applications of these words helps you blend seamlessly into British society and conversational settings.
  3. What Common Homonyms Should I Learn First? Begin with high-frequency homonyms like 'their,' 'they're,' and 'there,' or 'buy,' 'by,' and 'bye.' These appear constantly in daily communication. The quicker you learn them, the faster you'll gain confidence in speaking and understanding British English.
  4. Is There a Way to Test My Knowledge on Homonyms? Yes, quizzes can be a fun and effective way to test your grasp on homonyms. In the lesson, the instructor offers a quiz at the end to help you self-assess. Regular practice through quizzes like these will fine-tune your skills in differentiating homonyms.
  5. Are Homonyms Covered in Other Adept English Courses? Certainly. Adept English offers various courses and podcasts that touch on different aspects of the English language, including pronunciation and idiomatic expressions. However, the lesson in the transcript zeroes in specifically on homonyms. For other courses or podcasts, check out the Adept English website and utilize its search feature.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Transcript: An official written version of spoken language, often used for interviews or podcasts.
  • Amusing: Funny or enjoyable.
  • Phrasal Verbs: A type of verb phrase made up of a main verb and one or more particles, like "give up" or "take off."
  • Idioms: Fixed expressions with meanings that are not clear from the individual words, like "break the ice" or "hit the nail on the head."
  • Pronunciation: The way in which a word is spoken.
  • Homonyms: Words that sound the same or look the same but have different meanings.
  • Homophones: Words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings.
  • Homographs: Words that are spelled the same but have different meanings and may be pronounced differently.
  • Participle: A form of a verb that can act as an adjective, often ending in "ing" or "ed."
  • Uncountable Nouns: Nouns that cannot be counted and do not have a plural form, like "water" or "information."

Most Frequently Used Words:


Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

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Transcript: Why Do These English Words Look And Sound Alike

Make friends with homonyms in English

Hi there. Do you want to tackle the hardest parts of learning English? This is one of the reasons why we’re called ‘Adept’ English - I teach and you learn ‘adeptly’, meaning the teaching and learning are ‘targeted’, ‘done with skill’ - giving you ‘with the greatest value for the least effort! This podcast is inspired by a Reddit thread that uncovers what real English language learners find most challenging, most difficult about learning English! The Reddit thread asked non-native English speakers what the hardest parts are, of learning the English language. The results are quite amusing and the link is in the transcript. But this is also quite useful for me - to help you address what you find difficult. So listen on to learn more about homonyms - what they are, why they’re difficult and some of the ones you need to learn. And if you listen right to the end of this podcast, I've got a quiz to test your newfound knowledge

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Other types of help from Adept English

So I already give you help with many of the items on that list from the ‘Reddit article’ - like word order and sentence structure - that’s podcast 669 for example. And phrasal verbs - I keep coming back to those. If you want to find podcasts on phrasal verbs, go to adeptenglish.com and ‘Lessons’ and type in ‘phrasal’, PHRASAL in the search bar - seven podcasts to choose from! I also do idioms - for example podcast 676 just last week on ‘money idioms’ - but again you can type IDIOMS into the search bar on the Lessons page too. Silent letters (or as the link article calls these, ‘Latent Letters’) - these I cover in the Adept English Consonant Pronunciation Course, as well as a lot of other difficult parts of English pronunciation. That’s a great course, when you’re ready for it.

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

Homonyms are worth learning to help your English!

But one thing on that article extracted from Reddit that I’ve not covered as much 'homonyms’ just podcast 537 so far on homonyms. That’s HOMONYM. So today let me explain 'homonyms’ properly first. You’ll recognise them and they can be confusing. 'Homonyms’ are words with the same pronunciation OR the same spelling OR both. So within homonyms, you can have words with the same pronunciation, but different spelling - like 'plain’, PLAIN and 'plane’, PLANE. Those are also 'homophones’ - they sound the same. And homonyms can also be words with the same spelling, but different pronunciation - like TEAR, which can be pronounced 'tear’ or 'tear’, depending upon the meaning. So that example is a 'homograph’, that’s HOMOGRAPH - meaning 'it’s the same when written’. 'Homonyms’ can also be spelt the same and pronounced the same but have different meaning - like the word 'bat’, BAT in English. A 'bat’ can be an animal - or it can be something that you hit a cricket ball with. So that one is both a homograph and an homophone. Greek word origin helps you here - 'homo-’ means 'the same - as opposed to 'hetero-’ which means 'different’. And the ending '-phone’ means sound - and the ending '-graph’ means 'written’. Perhaps that will help clear up the confusion between homonyms, homographs and homophones?


A photograph of a smiling young woman. Why You Can't Afford to Ignore Homonyms in English: Listen & Learn!

©️ Adept English 2023

Common Examples of Homonyms that you’ll probably know

Now let’s address the problem with some common examples for you to learn. I’ve chosen ones which are spelt differently, but which sound the same. So homonyms and homophones, but not homographs. Most of the time, it will be obvious from the context which one it is. But it still pays to be aware of them and it’s confusing if you only know one spelling and one meaning and not the other. How about I give you a quiz at the end, so you can test yourself?

So some homonyms are so common, I’m sure you’ll know them already. I’ve covered their – they’re – there many times. Those are spelt THEIR, THEY’RE and THERE, of course. Learn those one if you don’t know them yet as they’re used all the time. Just like in that sentence!

More common examples - buy - by and bye. When you're shopping, you ‘buy’ things, BUY. When you talk about something created by someone, like "Sunflowers" by Vincent Van Gogh, you use ‘by’, BY. And when you're saying farewell, you might say ‘bye’, BYE. Simple, right?

Then what about eye and I? So ‘eye’, EYE - you have two of these and they’re what you look with - they’re on the front of your head. Whereas I means yourself, when you’re the subject of the verb. ‘I am Hilary’. Another really common example - knew and new. So ‘knew’, KNEW is the past participle of the verb ‘to know’ - as in ‘I knew my sister’s husband before they go married’. Or ‘new’, NEW as in ‘Yesterday I bought myself some new shoes’.

More common examples of homonyms worth learning

So those ones you probably know already - and they’re certainly worth learning if you don’t. Shall we cover some more common homonyms which it will pay you to know?

Weather and whether. So ‘weather’, WEATHER, or usually ‘the weather’, means whether it’s raining or the sun is shining. That’s ‘the weather’ as in ‘What is the weather doing today? Oh, it’s cloudy.’ But ‘whether’, WHETHER - is a word which comes before a choice of two possibilities or more. ‘I don’t know whether to laugh or cry’ or ‘Whether or not I’ve passed that exam - I’ll find out soon enough’.

Here’s another good example - cent, scent and sent. So ‘cent’, CENT is usually associated with currency. Many currencies of the world have a ‘cent’ as their smallest unit. So all types of dollar are made up of ‘cents’. The Euro is made up of ‘cents’. In the UK, of course we have ‘pennies’ not ‘cents’ - but there are still a 100 of them in a pound, which is of course the meaning of ‘cent’. ‘Scent’, SCENT means ‘a perfume’ - that could be one that you buy in a bottle, so that you smell nice, perhaps by Chanel, Givenchy or Christian Dior. Or it could the scent that animals spend a long time sniffing - especially your dog or cat, which is why perhaps brands like Chanel, Givenchy and Christian Dior tend to prefer the word ‘perfume’, PERFUME! But ‘scent’ is correct too. And the simplest ‘sent’, SENT is of course the past participle of the verb ‘to send’ as in ‘I sent him a letter last week’. What about knows and nose? So the first one, ‘knows’, KNOWS is part of the verb ‘to know’, as in ‘My cat knows how to open the door’. And the other ‘nose’, NOSE? Well, rather like ‘eye’ - it’s on your face. You smell things with your nose (sniff sniff) and breathe through it (breathing) - that’s your nose!

And a last one - meet and meat. ‘Meet’, MEET is the verb ‘to meet’ which means ‘to go and be in the same place as someone else’, unless it’s an online meeting, of course! You might meet up for a drink in a pub - or you might ‘meet’ or ‘have a meeting at work’. Whereas ‘meat’, MEAT is a noun - and it’s one of those uncountable nouns. ‘Meat ‘means things like ‘chicken, beef or lamb’ - something you eat then - or don’t eat perhaps, if you’re vegetarian or vegan!

Your Essential Guide 🎧 to Passive Voice

Quiz on homonyms so you can test what you’ve learned

OK, let’s stop there, as I want to leave time for the quiz. This is your opportunity to test yourself. I’ve put together some sentences and what I’d like you do to is write them down. That way, you’ll be able to test whether you’ve understood the meaning and whether you’ve got the right spelling for the meaning. It’ll also test whether you’ve remembered this podcast. You can use the transcript on our website at adeptenglish.com to check your answers. Oh - and if you’re watching on Spotify or YouTube - don’t look at the subtitles as they’ll give the answers away! Here goes - let’s start with the easy ones! So write down each of these sentences.

  1. ‘Yesterday I went into the supermarket to buy some fruit and just as I was by the apples, I bumped into my neighbour. He talked for a while and then just walked off without saying bye. He’s odd like that! ‘
  2. ‘When I was driving on the motorway, I got a fly in my eye. It was quite dangerous - I had to pull over onto the hard shoulder!’
  3. ‘I knew I needed to buy some new tyres - the ones on my car were bald!’ Now some harder ones?
  4. ‘I don’t know whether the weather is going to stay fine for the picnic tomorrow’.
  5. ‘My mother had sent me some spare Euros and cents to buy her some scent at the airport.
  6. ‘He knows not to stick his nose into other people’s business!’ It helps here to know that ‘to stick your nose into other people’s business’ is an idiom meaning ‘to be too curious or interfering’! Last one?
  7. ‘We’re going to meet to discuss what type of meat we’re having for the main course at our wedding reception.’

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

Solve The Maths Problem To Download Podcast & Transcript

That’s it! So check your spelling and see if you got the right homonym for each of those. So either go to the transcript on our website or look at the subtitles on YouTube or Spotify. Please let us know whether you found this easy or difficult - there are plenty more homonyms to cover - and I can certainly find more difficult ones if you’d like me to cover some of those!


Let us know whether this was useful and don’t forget to share this podcast, if it was!

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com




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