Homophones: Sound the Same but Different

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13682

Do you know those tricky words that are pronounced the same but are spelled differently and mean different things? This lesson will help you keep those words straight!


Grammar, Reading

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Are you unsure about whether or not homophones can be tricky?

Watch Homophone Jokes 2 - The Numbers, from English with Rob, to see just how confusing -- and funny -- homophones can be:

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If you have ever had an experience like this where you were confused by multiple-meaning words, keep reading!

In this lesson, you will learn to use context to help you determine the meaning of certain homophones, and you will also use the correct homophones in different contexts.

This is important because it will help you increase your vocabulary and properly spell these homophones, which will help others correctly understanding your writing.

  • So, what exactly are homophones?
homophone chart

Homophones are words that:

sound the same (meaning they are pronounced the same)

look different (meaning they are spelled differently)

have different meanings (meaning, well...they don't mean the same thing!)

Homophones often come in pairs, but they can work in bigger sets as well. For example:

blue and blew (pair of homophones)

too, two, and to (larger set of homophones)

  • It seems easy enough, right?

You would be amazed at how often these words can get confused for each other though!

There are thousands of homophones in the English language, including many commonly used words. Keep in mind that auto-correct most likely will not recognize an incorrectly used homophone since the spelling of the actual word might still be correct.

Therefore, it's your job to be as aware of homophones as you can! While you may memorize them and their usage, it is also possible to refer to the context (the words or sentences surrounding the homophone) to guide you toward understanding the correct meaning.

Let's look at some commonly misused homophone examples and their meanings:

  accept to take or receive something
  except to exclude something or to leave it out


  affect to influence something or cause something
  effect the result of an action


  you're contraction for you are
  your pronoun to show possession


  are present form of the verb to be
  our plural possessive form of we


  it's contraction for it is
  its possessive form of it


There are MANY more examples, some of which you will practice in the next section!

Obviously, this lesson focuses on homophones. However, some people confuse homophones with homographs.

  • What are homographs?

Homographs are words that:

look the same (meaning they're spelled the same)

sound differently (meaning they're not pronounced the same)

have different meanings (They don't mean the same thing!)

Homograph examples include:

bass (a fish) and bass (a low, deep voice or instrument)

entrance (an entryway) or entrance (filled with wonder or delight)

lead (a type of metal) or lead (to have people follow you)

In the examples above, think about the different pronunciation for each word as you are reading them! You may even want to look up some other homograph examples.

But let's get back to homophones and move on to the Got It? section for some practice together!

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