They can be very confusing for new English learners and often, the only way to understand which one is being used is based on the context.
In this post I want to look at a couple common ones and we can learn the difference between them.
Bear / Bear / Bare
So here we have three difference words that are pronounced the same, and two of them that are spelt the same. All three of these are fairly common, so we’ll look at their meanings now.
Simplest of all, we have bear, which is a noun referring to the large animal that lives in the woods.
The next bear is a verb that means to put up with something or to carry something.
The final bare, with a different spelling, means to be naked or have nothing to cover something.
The bear couldn’t bear the bare hair.
Can you work out which bear is which?
Bound / Bound
I was bound to be bound on the train bound for the campground.
How quickly can you say this sentence!?
Let’s break this down.
To be bound means to be certain to do something or go somewhere.
We can use it for transport.
But we more commonly use it for things that are likely to happen in our lives.
The other bound is a past tense of the verb to bind. This means to tie something with rope.
So let’s look at this sentence again.
I was bound (likely) to be bound (tied) on the train bound (destined) for the campground.
Current / Current / Currant
The current current carried the currant out to sea.
Now this is a confusing one right?
Let’s look at the first current. This means now or modern.
The second current is spelt the same but refers to the flow of water in a river or the ocean. For example, if you drop something in a river, the current will carry it away.
The last one is spelt, currant, and quite simply refers to a dried fruit like a raisin. We also see this word in other fruits such as blackcurrants.
The current (now) current (water flow) carried the currant (dried fruit) out to sea.
If you followed this confusing lesson then well done! There are hundreds of words like this in the English language and it’s good if you can see the fun side of it.
Can you think of your own examples of homographs or homonyms? Or maybe you can make a sentence using the ones I gave you today. Let me know in the comments below.
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