English has an extensive vocabulary. It is loaded with homophones, homonyms, and homographs.
Homonyms – Words with same spellings and pronunciations but different meanings
Homophones – Words that sound similar but have different spellings and meaning
Homographs – Words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings
1. Advise – Advise is a verb. For example: I advise you to bring bottled water.
Advice – Advice is a noun. For example: I need your advice.
2. Affect – Affect is a verb, which means, “to influence”. For example: The injury won’t affect her performance.
Effect – Effect is a noun, that means “the outcome or result”. When used as a verb ‘effect’ means, “to produce a result”. For example: The song had a calming effect on the baby.
3. Allude – Allude is a verb, which meaning “calling attention to indirectly”.
It is a ‘coy’. For example: The paintings allude to Rembrandt.
Elude – Elude means to evade or get away from something. For example:
Michael Scofield eluded the cops.
4. Allusion – An allusion is an indirect or casual reference. For example: The novel’s title is an allusion to Shakespeare.
Illusion – An illusion is false idea or image. For example: The tension between illusion and reality.
5. All – Used to refer to the whole quantity. For example: She left all her jewelry to her daughter
Awl – A small pointed tool used for piercing holes. For example: He used an awl to pierce the leather.
6. Amoral – Lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something. For example: a amoral attitude to gender discrimination
Immoral – Immoral means violating conscience or public morality. For example: an immoral and unwinnable war.
7. Ark – Noah’s ark OR a vessel that serves as protection against extinction.
For example: A starship built by their android protectors
Arc – A curved shaped. For example: The huge arc of the sky
8. Bazaar – Bazaar is a market place. For example: Tony went to the bazaar to buy vegetables.
Bizarre – Bizarre, on the other hand, means something unusual and spooky.
For example: The Bermuda Triangle incidents are bizarre.
9. Bridal – Bridal concerns a wedding or bride. For example: Bridal traditions will never go away
Bridle – A bridle is a horse harness or a rope. It could also mean to keep under control. For example: the fact that she was the servant bridled her tongue.
10. Coign – an external corner of a wall. For example: ‘Coign of vantage’ is a phrase meaning a favorable position for observation or action
Coin – A flat, typically round piece of mental with an official stamp, used as money OR to invent or device a new word or phrase. For example: He showed me how we could make a lot of coins OR he coined the term ‘desktop
11. Colonel – An army officer of high rank. For example: The jawans saluted as the Colonel drove by
Kernel – A softer, usually edible part of a nut OR the central of most important part of something. For example: This is the kernel of the argument.
12. Complement – A thing that completes or brings to perfection. For example: The libretto proved a perfect complement to the music
Compliment – A polite expression of praise admiration. For example: The bride was complimented by many of her wedding day.
13. Doe – A female deer. For example: The safari saw a doe and her fawn
Dough – A thick, malleable mixture of flour and liquid, used for baking OR lots of money. For example: The dog ate the cookie dough.
14. Elicit – Evoke or draw out. For example: A corrupt heart elicits in an hour all that is bad in us
Illicit – Forbidden by law, rules or customs. For example: Adolescents have started using illicit drugs.
15. Gorilla – A powerfully built great ape. For example: The gorilla’s were creating a ruckus in the jungle
Guerrilla – A member of a small independent group taking part in irregular
fighting. For example: The guerrilla warfare was getting out of hand.
16. Immanent – Immanent means “pervading” or “existing within”. For
example: The room’s immanent tension made her anxious.
Imminent – Imminent means “about to happen”. For example: The exam period is imminent.
Eminent – Eminent means “distinguished”. For example: He was an eminent scholar.
17. Knead – Massage or squeeze with the hands. For example: The bakers kneaded the dough
Need – Require something because it is essential or very important. For example: I don’t need your sarcasm.
18. Licence – licence is the noun. For example: One who is licensed to perform dental surgery has a dental surgeon’s licence.
License – license is the verb.
19. Nay – Or rather; more than that. For example: It will take months, nay years
Neigh – A characteristic high-pitched sound uttered by a horse e.g. The horses neighed in excitement on seeing their master.
20. Principle – A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour. For example: A man of principle
Principal – The first in order of importance. For example: The country’s principal cities.
21. Shear – Cut something (such as wool, hair, or grass) with scissors or
shears. For example: I’ll shear off all the fleece
Sheer – Nothing other than; unmitigated. For example: She giggled with sheer delight.
22. Stake – a strong wooden or metal post with a point at one end. For example: They used stakes to support the trees
Steak – a slice of meat or fish, especially beef, cooked by broiling, frying,etc.. For example: He liked his steak rare.
23. Team – Two or more people working together. For example: He teamed up with the band to produce the album
Teem – Be full of or swarming with. For example: Every garden is teeming with wildlife.
24. Toe – Any of the five digits at the end of a human foot; push, touch or kick with one’s toe. For example He toed off his shoes and flexed his feet
Tow – Pull along with a rope or chain. For example: The car had to be towed once it stalled.
25. Vain – Conceited; producing no result. For example: A vain attempt to tidy up the room
Vane – Device for showing wind direction
Vein – A blood vessel; streak; crack. For example: He felt the adrenalin course through his veins.
26. We – Used to refer to the speaker together with other people regarded in the same category. For example: Nobody knows kids better than we teachers do
Wee – little; very small; very early. For example: In the wee hours of the morning.
27. Whine – A complaining tone of voice. For example: The whine of the engine
Wine – An alcoholic drink made of fermented grape juice. For example: He opened a bottle of red wine.
28. Wretch – An unfortunate or unhappy person; a despicable or contemptible person e.g.: ungrateful wretches
Retch – Make a sound or movement of vomiting. For example: The poor child retched during the flight
Homographs and Homonyms
There are also words such as homonyms and homographs. Homographs are words with
different meanings and pronunciations but same spellings, while homonyms are words
with different meanings but same spellings and pronunciations.
Homographs are words such as read (reed) and read (red).
1. Bow – A weapon used for shooting arrows; a ribbon tied with two knots;
bending your head to show respect to a king.
2. Wound – An injury; wrap around something.
3. Minute – Something small and tiny; a period of time.
4. Sow – Planting a seed in the ground; an adult female pig
5. Tear – Tears are what comes out of your eyes when you cry; ripping or
Some homonyms to look out for are:
1. Book – One could refer to the book you are reading, or to booking a seat at
a restaurant or booking a ticket.
2. Peer – It could mean looking at something, or a person your own age.
3. Fair – A fair could be a place you go to have fun, or it would mean being
just and reasonable.
“Do It Right Now”: Steps to Start Improving instantly
Step 1: Keep a pocket notebook with yourself all the time
Step 2: Concentrate on people’s speech
Step 3: Pick out words that have noticed as homophones, homonyms, and homographs
Step 4: Categorize these words in difference sections
Step 5: Find their different meanings and uses