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Homonyms, or homophones, are words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings. They are usually spelled differently.

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig..

There are two or more homonyms in each sentence. Read the sentences carefully and then underline the homonyms. The first two sentences have been done for you.

1. The wind blew my blue shirt into the pool.
2. Cheryl rode along as we rowed the boat from the island to the lakeside road.
3. I’ve never seen such a beautiful scene.
4. We want a site for our home that will be out of sight.
5. The seam in the tent doesn’t seem to hold back the rain.
6. Due to the dry weather, we do not see any dew on the grass.
7. I knew they had a new gnu at the zoo.
8. Some people know that you add to find the sum.
9. They’re hanging their coats over there.
10. I ate the eight cakes that were on my plate.
11. How many ways can I tell him that he weighs too much?
12. They banned the crude band from playing at the concert.

13. She only won one ticket to the show.
14. We must raze the old building before the sun’s rays can raise the temperature.
15. We’ll find a tropical isle where I’ll walk down the aisle with my bride.
16. You’re crazy if you pierce your ankle!

The following are similar words which change their meaning depending on what part of speech they are; noun verb, adjective or adverb.  Sometimes we distinguish by sound, while other times by simply changing the accent.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture..

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

21) I will deal with the minute details in a minute.

In each phase or sentence of the tests that follow, the missing word, usually a homophone, is one that is often confused with a similar one.

For each blank space supply one of the two (or three) words given. You will NOT necessarily use each word once - you may have to use one word two or three times and you may not use the other(s) at all.

Test 2.



“There” is an adverb designating a position.

“Their” is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership.

“They’re” is a contraction for they are.

Place the word there their or they’re in the space provided.


1.  I can see _______ parents standing over ______________ by the pool.

2.  I can’t believe ______ leaving behind _______little kitten.

3.  ____________ packing ________parcels for the men to deliver to

     _________ new house.

4. _______________ is that naughty boy over ______________.

5.  That little dog is ________________________.

6.  _________ quite upset by the decision but realise _________ is no

     other way.

7.  It was _______ horse that won the race.

8.  ______________are six rabbits in the burrow __________________.

9.   ______________ changing the guard at Buckingham Palace.

10. _____________ you are.

11. ______________ was once a castle on this spot.

12. They lost  _____________ way.

13. They were here yesterday, but today  ______________ not.

14. ____________ were three friends who built_________ homes over__________. 

15. I suppose __________  getting ___________ lunch ready.

Answers click here

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