Homophones: Commonly Confused Words

Contributor: Kristen Gardiner. Lesson ID: 10488

Dew soundalike words confuse yew? Wood ewe like two no watt too due? Using a creepy story, online resources and a fun project, learn about homophones, words that sound alike but mean different things!

categories

Grammar, Writing

subject
English / Language Arts
learning style
Visual
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

One afternoon, Pam and Jim went for a long walk. "I wonder what's down this way," Jim said as they wandered down a mysterious road.

"I heard that a whole herd of witches lives down here," Pam replied.

"You can't always believe what you hear," said Jim with a smile.

As they walked along, it grew darker and darker. Soon, they came across some really creepy houses.

"Wha-what was that?" Pam asked shakily.Suddenly, they heard a voice cackling in the distance, "You two had better get out of here. I don't know whether or not you'll make it in the weather that's coming!"

"I...I think it was a witch!" Jim said, now squeezing Pam's hand.

"Me too!" said Pam, "but, which witch, there are two over there!"

"Kids..." replied the second witch. "Let's get back to playing cards; I'm winning for once."As Jim and Pam ran off in fright, one witch turned to the other and said, "What was their problem? I was just warning them about the storm."

which witch

When you read the story above, did you feel like you were repeating the same words over and over, but still saying something different — but still a little confused?

That's exactly what homophones will do to you if you don't get them straightened out quickly. Homophones are words that sound exactly the same, but are spelled differently and have completely different meanings. It's easy to get these words confused in your writing, but bee careful, because if you do, your sentence will completely lose its meaning. See what I mean? Words like "be" and "bee" could get confused, and your sentence could make absolutely no cents!

Pam and Jim

Start by taking a look at Pam and Jim above. Take a look at their conversation to see if you can start to pick out the homophones.

A lot of people think "wonder" and "wander" are homophones, but they are not. They have different pronunciations, but they are commonly confused in writing. You can use the context clues above to tell what each word means. Now, move on to some real homophones!

"I heard that a whole herd of witches lives down here," Pam replied. "You can't always believe what you hear," said Jim with a smile.

Here is the first set, "heard" and "herd." The two words sound the same when you say them, but they are spelled differently, and they mean two very different things. "Heard" is the past tense of the verb "hear," and "herd" means a large group, usually of animals, like a herd of cows.

The second example is in this same exchange between Jim and Pam:

"I heard that a whole herd of witches lives down here," Pam replied. "You can't always believe what you hear," said Jim with a smile.

In this case, the word "here" is a noun pointing to a place, while "hear" means to take in sound with your ears.

Pick out a few more.

"You two had better get out of here. I don't know whether or not you'll make it in the weather that's coming!"

Here, "whether" is a conjunction that usually tags along with its fellow conjunction "or," meaning she doesn't know how well they will do walking in the storm; and "weather" is a noun referring to the temperature, wind, rain, and so on.

OK, here's my favorite part:

"I...I think it was a witch!" Jim said, now squeezing Pam's hand. "Me too!" said Pam, "but, which witch, there are two over there!"

"Which" is a pronoun, pointing to an unknown noun in a question, or a known object in a statement. "Witch," on the other hand, is a noun that we can all describe in our own haunting, eerie, green-skinned manner. Or maybe you'd rather describe the good witches. Either way, they are made-up people, usually women, with magical powers.

Last one with help:

"Me too!" said Pam, "but, which witch, there are two over there!"

"Too" is an adverb meaning "also" or "as well." "Two" is the written form of the number 2.

  • There is one more set in the story above. Can you find it?

Look it over with your teacher until you can point to this common pair. Here's a hint: Check the witches; I'll bet they're hovering very near! To find the answer, and for more practice, complete the Homophone Chart from Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar!

When you are done, move on to the Got It? section to play a game of Concentration!

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