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At least a couple of times a week I get an email or comment from someone wondering
“What’s the difference between ‘deer’ and ‘dear’?”
Or something similar.
And at least some of you know, there is no difference in the pronunciation.
They are homophones.
In this American English pronunciation video,
we’re going to go over what homophones are, and a long list of them.
You’ll probably even learn some new words.
English is not a phonetic language.
That means there is not a direct relationship between letters and sounds.
So you can have two different words with different spellings that are pronounced exactly the same.
These are called homophones, and there are a lot in American English.
When I was in Paris with my friend Sara,
she said something about the bridge with locks.
It’s a famous bridge,
though I believe they have since had to remove some or all of the locks.
But she said something about this bridge and my mind went to a different word,
‘lochs’, a narrow bay or body of water.
It makes sense, bridge, bay.
Then my mind went to ‘lox’ – salmon.
Again, it kind of makes sense: bridge, water, salmon.
But then I realized she meant this ‘locks’. And we had a good laugh.
Normally with homophones, the context is clear enough
that there is no doubt which word you mean.
In this video we are going to go over an incredibly long list of homophones,
some involving very common words.
Some of them may surprise you, and chances are some of the words will be new to you.
If any words are unfamiliar, right them down and look up the meaning.
Here we go.
ad / add
aid / aide
air / heir / err
aisle / isle / I'll
Note the contraction will usually be reduced.
Then, instead of sounding like ‘aisle’, it will sound like ‘all’
allowed / aloud
alter / altar
ant / aunt
note A-U-N-T can also be pronounced ‘aunt’,
but it is most commonly pronounced ‘ant’.
arc / ark
assent / ascent
assistance / assistants
ate / eight
aural / oral
away / aweigh
Anchors aweigh!
aye / eye
bail / bale
bait / bate
ball / bawl
band / banned
bard / barred
bare / bear
baron / barren
base / bass
be / bee
beach / beech
beat / beet
beau / bow
bell / belle
berry / bury
billed / build
berth / birth
bite / byte
blew / blue
bloc / block
boar / bore
board / bored
boarder / border
bode / bowed
bolder / boulder
born / borne
bough / bow [ow]
bread / bred
brake / break
brewed / brood
brews / bruise
bridle / bridal
broach / brooch
browse / brows
but / butt
buy / by / bye
cache / cash
callous / callus
cannon / canon
canvas / canvass
capital / capitol
carat / carrot / caret / karat
carol / carrel
cast / caste
cede / seed
ceiling / sealing
cell / sell
cellar / seller
censor / sensor
cent / scent / sent
cents / scents / sense
cereal / serial
cession / session
chance / chants
chased / chaste
cheap / cheep
chews / choose
chic / sheik
chilly / chili
choral / coral
chute / shoot
chord / cord
cite / sight / site
clause / claws
click / clique
close / clothes
though you don’t have to drop the TH in ‘clothes’,
most native speakers do.
coarse / course
colonel / kernel
complement / compliment
coo / coup
coop / coupe
core / corps
correspondence / correspondents
council / counsel
creak / creek
crews / cruise
cue / queue
currant / current
curser / cursor
cymbal / symbol
dam / damn
days / daze
dear / deer
defused / diffused
desert / dessert
The first word here can either be DEH-sert or dee-ZERT.
Don’t desert me!
I’d love more dessert.
dew / do / due
die / dye
disburse / disperse
This one is interesting.
The consonant B and P are not the same,
but they sound the same here.
The P, unvoiced, often sounds more like a voiced consonant,
the B, when it’s in the middle of a word.
disburse / disperse
doe / dough
draft / draught
dual / duel
earn / urn
ewe / you / yew
eye / I
fair / fare
faze / phase
feat / feet
find / fined
fir / fur
flair / flare
flea / flee
flew / flu / flue
flour / flower
flocks / phlox
for / four / fore
of course, ‘for’ is reduced in sentences to ‘fer’.
I made this for you!
foreword / forward
forth / fourth
foul / fowl
friar / fryer
gait / gate
gene / jean
gild / guild
gilt / guilt
gnu / knew / new
gored / gourd
gorilla / guerilla
grate / great
grease / Greece
groan / grown
guessed / guest
hail / hale
hair / hare
hall / haul
halve / have
hangar / hanger
hay / hey
heal / heel / he'll
The contraction “he’ll” will usually be reduced in a sentence.
Then it can sound like ‘hill’.
He’ll, hill.
hear / here
heard / herd
heed / he'd
hertz / hurts
hew / hue / Hugh
Hi / high
higher / hire
him / hymn
hoard / horde
hoarse / horse
hole / whole
holey / holy / wholly
hoes / hose
hold / holed
hostel / hostile
hour / our
‘Hour’ is a noun. That’s a content word, so it will be stressed in a sentence.
‘Our’, on the other hand is usually unstressed,
and will sound more like ‘our’.
Our— our—
He’s our uncle.
From this perspective, they’re not homophones.
idle / idol
illicit / elicit
in / inn
instance / instants
intense / intents
its / it's
jam / jamb
knead / kneed / need
knight / night
knit / nit
knot / not
know / no
knows / nose
lay / lei
leach / leech
lead / led
leak / leek
lean / lien
leased / least
lessen / lesson
levee / levy
liar / lyre
lie / lye
lieu / Lou
links / lynx
load / lode
loan / lone
locks / lox / lochs
loot / lute
low / lo
made / maid
mail / male
main / mane / Maine
Maize / maze
mall / maul
manner / manor
marry / merry / Mary
Now, some people will say these are all pronounced differently.
It depends on your region. I pronounce them all the same.
marry / merry / Mary
Marshal / martial
massed / mast
meat / meet / mete
medal / meddle
This pair of homophones actually sound just like this pair of homophones: metal / mettle,
because of the Flap T, which comes between vowel sounds,
and sounds just like the D between vowel sounds.
This makes homophone pairs that aren’t even listed here, like ‘madder’, ‘matter’.
medal / meddle
Might / mite
mince / mints
mind / mined
miner / minor
missed / mist
moan / mown
mode / mowed
moose / mousse
morn / mourn
muscle / mussel
mustard / mustered
naval / navel
nay / neigh
none / nun
oar / or / ore
ode / owed
oh / owe
one / won
overdo / overdue
overseas / oversees
pail / pale
pain / pane
pair / pare / pear
palate / palette / pallet
passed / past
patience / patients
pause / paws
pea / pee
peace / piece
peak / peek / pique
peal / peel
pearl / purl
pedal / peddle
and let’s throw ‘petal’ in the there because of the Flap T.
pedal / peddle / petal
peer / pier
per / purr
pi / pie
plait / plate
plain / plane
pleas / please
plum / plumb
pole / poll
pore / pour
pray / prey
presence / presents
prince / prints
principal / principle
profit / prophet
rack / wrack
rain / reign / rein
raise / rays / raze
rap / wrap
rapped / rapt / wrapped
read / red
rid / read / reed
Did you notice R-E-A-D was in the last TWO homophone pairs, pronounced differently?
That’s called a heteronym.
One word is spelled the same as another word, but it’s pronounced differently and has a different meaning.
real / reel
reek / wreak
rest / wrest
retch / wretch
review / revue
right / rite / write
ring / wring
road / rode / rowed
roam / Rome
roe / row
role / roll
rut / root / route
rose / rows
rote / wrote
rough / ruff
rung / wrung
rye / wry
sail / sale
scene / seen
scull / skull
sea / see
seam / seem
seas / sees / seize
serf / surf
sew / so / sow
shear / sheer
stake / steak
stationary / stationery
steal / steel
step / steppe
stile / style
straight / strait
suite / sweet
surge / serge
tacks / tax
tacks / tax
taught / taut
tea / tee
team / teem
tear / tier
their / there / they're
Usually THEIR and THEY’RE are reduced in a sentence and sound like ‘thur’.
theirs / there's
threw / through
thrown / throne
thyme / time
tic / tick
tide / tied
to / too / two
This is the full pronunciation of TO.
It’s usually reduced in a sentence to ‘te’, or ‘de’.
I’ll post a link to a video on this at the end of the video.
toad / towed
toe / tow
trussed / trust
vain / vane / vein
vale / veil
vary / very
vial / vile
wade / weighed
wail / whale
waist / waste
wait / weight
waive / wave
ware / wear / where
way / weigh / whey
ways / weighs
weak / week
we'll / wheel
This is a full, clear pronunciation of the ‘we will’. We’ll.
Usually, it’s reduced in a sentence to ‘wull’.
weather / whether
we'd / weed
we've / weave
wet / whet
which / witch
while / wile
whine / wine
These last three pairs compare WH words with words that don’t start with WH.
Some people pronounce WH differently –
I have a video on that.
Check it out at the end of this video or in the description below.
who's / whose
wood / would
yoke / yolk
yore / your / you're
YOUR and YOU’RE usually reduce so they sound something more like ‘yer’.
Wow. If you’re still watching this video, you must really love homophones.
That was an incredibly long list. There were a lot of very common words on it.
There were a lot of very common words on it.
There are also word combinations that can form homophone phrases, like “letter” and “lead her”.
Because we usually drop the H in ‘her’ and link it to the word before,
these phrases sound the same.
Check out the video I made on homophone phrases by clicking in the description below.
Also, a lot of contractions were on this list.
Here is a link to a video on contractions.
These links are also in the description below.
I hope this helps shed some light on what a homophone is.
We’ve got a lot of them!
If you’re new to Rachel’s English, welcome.
I have over 500 videos to help you speak better American English on my YouTube channel.
Click here to visit my channel and subscribe.
Or, see this playlist to get started with my videos.
The link is also in the description below.
And I have a great ebook – 290 pages with two and a half hours of audio.
This book details my method for learning American English pronunciation.
It organizes hundreds of my online videos for a path, start to finish,
to help you speak beautifully and naturally.
Click here or in the description below for more information and to purchase a copy.
You’ll get free updates of the book for life.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
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Homonyms and Homophones – The Most Common Homophones in English – Learn Grammar

132 Folder Collection
林宜悉 published on March 10, 2020
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