Many students get confused with these homophones. Homophones are the words with same pronunciation but different meaning and spelling as well. There are numerous homophones but we will show you some of them to make you clear about the term.
Common examples of homophones
To, two, too
To – used in the infinitive form of a verb, such as “to walk”, and also to mean “towards”.
Too – this means “as well” or “also”; for example, “me too”.
Two – this is the number; for example, “two days ago”.
There, their, they’re
There – this refers to a place that is not here; for instance, “over there”. It can also be used to state something, such as “There is an argument to suggest…”, or (in a slightly old-fashioned way) to comfort someone: “There, it will be alright.”
Their – this indicates possession: something belonging to them. For example, “we could use their boat”.
They’re – this is a shortening of “they are”. For example, “They’re going to be here at 12pm”.
Your – this is the second person possessive form, indicating something belonging to you. For example, “This is your decision.”
You’re – short for “you are”, as in “You’re amazing.”
By – this preposition refers to something besides, near or through. For example, “There’s an ice cream van over there by that tree.”
Buy – this is a verb meaning to purchase something. For instance, “let’s go and buy a car.”
Bye – short for “goodbye”, this is an expression used to bid someone farewell. For example, “Bye, see you tomorrow”.
Compliment – this is a nice thing you say to someone to flatter them, for example, “You look nice today.” The adjective of this is “complimentary”, which has two meanings. It can refer to something expressing praise – such as “He was most complimentary, saying how pretty I looked.” But just to add to the confusion, “complimentary” can also mean “free of charge”. For example, “the airline provided complimentary drinks for those delayed”.
Complement – this is something that goes well with something else. For example, “the dress complemented the color of her hair.” The adjective form is “complementary”, meaning things that go together, used as follows: “The two of them provided complementary skills; he was good at writing, while she was good at sales.”
Brake – this spelling refers to the brakes on a car or other vehicle, and in a wider sense to slowing down. For example, “He applied the brakes to slow the car down.”
Break – confusingly, this spelling this has several meanings.
As a verb, “to break” means to separate something into parts. For example, “I’m going to break this chocolate bar into three so we can share.”
○ As a noun, it can be used to signify a pause or stop, such as “a break in the schedule”, or you can “take a break”, meaning have some time off.
○ You can also use the word to describe the consequences of the verb – when you “break” something, it is “broken” and the site of the separation can be referred to as “the break”. For instance, “He broke his leg, but the break is mending.”
Course – this has many meanings.
○ A course is what we offer here at Academy – a programmer of educational study.
○ “Of course,” means “naturally”. For example, “Would you like a chocolate?” – “Of course!”
○ It can also mean “direction”; for instance, an “unexpected course of events” describes events unfolding in an unanticipated direction. You could also say, “I don’t know what course of action to take”, or “The plane took a northerly course.”
○ In sport, it describes an area of land or water set aside for the purpose of a particular activity, such as a “golf course”, “water skiing course” or “cross country course”.
○ Another context in which you might hear this word is to describe parts of a meal. For instance, the “main course” is the most substantial part of the meal.
○ Less often heard is the use of this word to describe hunting with dogs, such as “hare coursing”.
○ As a verb, “to course” refers to the movement of liquid, such as “water coursing through a channel”.
Coarse – this word is used to describe things that are rough or crude. This could be rough in texture – as in “sandpaper is very coarse” – or to describe language, such as “His humour was very coarse.”
Here – this refers to something being in one’s current location – for example, “There is a strange smell here”. You can also use it when introducing something, such as “Here is something I know you’ll like.”
Hear – this means to detect a sound. If it helps you remember it, consider the fact that the word “hear” contains the word “ear”!
Peace – this is the absence of war. The word also refers more generally to a feeling of contentment, for example “The woods were very peaceful.”
Piece – spelled this way, the word means a unit or portion of something, such as “a piece of cake”. To “say your piece” means to state your opinion about something, while “giving someone a piece of your mind” means to tell them – usually in anger – exactly what you think of a situation.
Whole – this means “complete” or “entire” – used as in “the whole story”.
Hole – a “hole” indicates a lack of something, as in an opening. For example, the hole in a ring doughnut is the missing bit in the middle, while a “Black Hole” is an invisible area of space that appears to have nothing in it, because its gravity prevents even light from escaping.
Stare – the verb “to stare” refers to the act of gazing intently at something. As a noun, it refers to the look itself – for example “a long, cold stare”.
Stair – this refers to a single step, or one of a number of steps, used to connect two different levels, with variants including “staircase” (the complete set of steps), “stairway” (the steps and their surrounding walls),“downstairs” (the bottom level) and “upstairs” (the upper level).
As this example illustrates, it’s amazing how much difference it makes to put unlikely letters at the beginning and end of a word.
Know – “to know” means “to be aware of something”; for example, “I know he is afraid.” The K at the beginning is one of a number of instances in the English language of a silent K, so it’s pronounced in exactly the same way as “no” – even though if you take the K off, you have the word “now”, which is pronounced in a way that rhymes it with “how”.
No – the opposite of “yes”, used to indicate the negative. Bizarrely, “no.” – with a full stop after it – is also used to abbreviate the word “number”. For example, “No. of pages: 150.”