English Grammar

Learn English Grammar

Understanding Words Better

There are certain pairs of words in English language which children often find confusing, since they have similar sounds. Such pairs of words which have similar sounds but different spellings are called homophones.

Following are some homophones :

1. adapt (adjust) - I have adapted myself to my new school. adopt (to take up) - We have adopted a poor slum kid.
2. altar (place of worship) - We kept the flowers at the altar. alter (to change) - The dress does not fit me, I need to alter it.
3. aloud (in a loud voice) - Don't talk aloud in class. allowed (to permit) - You are not allowed to enter the office.
4. birth (the time when the baby is born) - I never forget her birthday. berth (the bed in a train) - Let Arjun sit on the lower berth.
5. break (separate into pieces) - Be careful! Don't break the statue. brake (a device for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle) - The brakes of my cycle are not working properly.
6. diary (a book in which one keeps a daily record of events) - I write my thoughts in a diary everyday. dairy ( a building or room for the storage, process and distribution of milk) - You can get milk from the nearby dairy.
7. died (stop living) - The dog died yesterday. dyed (a natural substance used to colour something) - My grandfather has not dyed his hair.
8. doze (light sleep) - The baby dozed off on the sofa. dose (a quantity of any medicine or drug taken at one time) - You should take one dose of this medicine each day.
9. flour (a powder obtained by grinding grain, used to make bread etc.) - Get 1 kg flour from the shop. floor (the lower surface of a room, on which one walks) - The wooden floor of our room needs polish.
10. hare (an animal) - The hare and the tortoise had a competition. hair (fine thread like strands growing from the skin) - Kavita has a long hair.
11. heel (the back part of the foot below the ankle) - My heel hurts after walking. heal (make or become sound or healthy again) - Don't worry, the wound will heal.
12. lose (to be unable to find something) - Don't lose your pen again. loose (not firmly or tightly fixed in a place) - Be careful, the screw is loose and the parts might come off.
13. pain (a strongly unpleasant bodily sensation caused by injury) - My mother is in pain since she has hurt her foot. pane (single sheet of glass in a window or door) - The window pane is broken.
14. peace (freedom from disturbance) - We want peace not war. piece (a portion of an object) - Give me only one piece of cake.
15. pray (address prayer to God or any other person) - We should pray for good health. prey (an animal hunted and killed by another for food) - The lion hunts its prey.
16. principal (first in order of importance) - Our Principal will attend the cultural event. principle (a fundamental truth) - Mr Verma always followed noble principles.
17. quiet (making little or no noise) - Children, be quiet. quite (absolutely or completely) - I am quite happy with my result.
18. route (a way taken in getting from a starting point to a destination) - The bus takes route number 24. root (a part of a plant below ground that acts as a support) - The root of a plant absorbs water from the soil.
19. stair (a set of fixed steps) - The stairs were very steep. stare (look fixedly at someone or something with eyes wide open) - My pastime is to stare at the sky and think.
20. sell (hand over in exchange for money) - They will sell this house. cell (a device used for current generation) - Give me two pencil cells for this table clock.
21. story (an account of imaginary or real events) - I love to read stories. storey (a part of a building comprising all rooms that are on the same level) - We live on the upper storey of this house.
22. their (belonging to them) - Their house is in Block C. there (a place or position) - There in the park, you will see some cows grazing.
23. wait (to stay where one is until someone comes or something happens) - We will wait for them to come. weight (measure of how heavy something is) - The baby's weight is 10 kg.
24. waist (the area around the middle of the body) - During flood the water was almost to the level of our waist. waste (to use more of something than is necessary or useful) - Don't waste water.
25. weak (not physically strong) - She became weak after the illness. week (a period of seven days from Sunday to Saturday) - We are going to Goa this week.