Hi again, I’m so glad you could join me.
To continue with part 2 of Common Homophones- See which ones you’re confusing, like we did in part 1, we’re going to look at 9 sets of homophones. I’ll explain the meanings of the words and give you example sentences. Also, just like I did before, I’m going to be including a practice exercise at the end of the article.
I want you to use the definitions and the examples to help you complete the fill in the blank sentences. In this way, you’ll get a chance to practice and see if you actually understood and are able to use the homophones correctly and just like in part 1, you’ll find the answers at the end of the article.
Now, try to read the entire article and do the practice exercise before you go and check your answers. No, cheating now. (lol)
What do you think? Should we get started?
1. be vs. bee
Here we have a verb and a noun. First, we have the verb to ‘be‘ which is one of the first verbs taught to English learners. The second word of our set is the noun ‘bee’. A ‘bee‘ is an insect that produces honey. Some of them can be distinguished by the black and yellow stripes they have.
- I think Mary is going to be a great dancer.
- If you are not careful that bee might sting you.
2. air vs. heir
‘Air’ is what we breathe and it’s made up of a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. An ‘heir‘ is the person who will legally receive the properties and or titles belonging to another at the time of the latter’s death.
- You should open the window and let the fresh air in.
- I can’t believe Jonathan is the heir to such a large fortune.
3. flu vs. flew
‘Flu‘ is the short form of influenza which is a common infectious disease caused by a virus. It usually manifests itself with a high fever, headache and breathing problems. It’s a noun. ‘Flew‘ on the other hand is a verb and it’s the simple past of the verb to fly.
- Johnny has been in bed with the flu for 7 days.
- Last week Mary flew to New York.
4. cereal vs. serial
These two words are both nouns. ‘Cereal‘ is a plant. Also, it’s the name given to food usually eaten for breakfast which comes in a box. It may be in the form of flakes or some other form and it’s consumed generally in a bowl with milk. ‘Serial‘ can refer to articles or tv programs that are released one after the other at regular intervals. This meaning when referring to a t.v. serial is more commonly used in British English. North Americans usually use the word ‘series’.
The word is also used when referring to someone that does something at regular intervals such as a serial killer, who follows a pattern and kills at regular intervals.
- Did you have cereal for breakfast?
- I can’t believe that my next door neighbour is a serial rapist.
5. vary vs. very
These homophones not only sound the same but they only have a one letter difference in spelling.
‘Vary‘ is a verb and it’s used when we want to point out that something changes. ‘Very‘ can be an adverb or sometimes an adjective. The more common use is as an adverb and in that case, it means a high level of such as very beautiful meaning or highly beautiful.
- Even though all the children were taught by the same teacher their test scores were varied. (simple past tense of vary).
- Tina’s wedding dress was very beautiful.
6. tide vs. tied
- If the tide comes in while your sleeping on the beach you will awake in the water.
- They tied the rope around his feet before hanging him up.
7. pie vs. pi
‘Pie‘ is a dessert baked in the oven. ‘Pi‘ is a mathematical constant. Its value is approximately 3.1415926535897932 and it’s the ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a circle.
- My favourite pie is apple pie.
- Does anyone know the numeric value of pi?
8. sun vs. son
The spelling of this set of homophones differs by only one letter.
The ‘sun‘ is a star in our solar system around which the earth and other planets orbit. ‘Son‘ is a male offspring. If you have children, the male child is your son.
- I love it when there are no clouds to cover up the sun.
- Today is my son‘s birthday.
9. toe vs. tow
The final set of homophones we will look at today is toe and tow.
A ‘toe‘ is a digit of your foot and it’s a noun. To ‘tow‘ means to pull something with a rope or chain.
- Normally people have ten toes.
- My car broke down on the highway and I had to get it towed to a garage. ( Here the verb is conjugated in the simple past.)
Fill in the blank with the correct word.
- This honey is produced right here at our farm from our own______.
- Will you ______ having dinner now or do you prefer to wait?
- You better stay in the shade, the _____ is very harmful at this time of day.
- My car broke down and I need it ______ to the garage.
- Tom is Mr. Peter’s ________.
- Oh my God, Where did all of these _______ come from?
- This is a ______ important meeting.
- I always eat _______ for breakfast.
- Prince Charles is the _______ to the British throne.
- I want some cherry _____ for dessert.
- There is a ______ killer on the lose in New York.
- Tony ______ to Italy yesterday.
- Turn on the fan so we can get some______ before we faint.
- The kidnapper kept her ________.
- I’m taking a few days off of work because I have the _______.
Well, that brings us to the end of this post. I hope you had fun reading through the lessons and that you now have a better understanding of when and how to use these 18 sets of homophones.
If you have comments or if you’d like to add other homophones, let me know in the comment box below.
Join me for my next article where we’ll learn or review some other aspect of this crazy, confusing, wonderful language.
- bees 2. be 3. sun 4. towed 5. son 6. bees 7. very 8. cereal 9. heir 10. pie 11. serial 12. flew 13. air 14. tied 15. flu