Same But Different

July 5, 2021 by Ashlee Hunter

English can be a difficult language to learn, especially when there are words that are spelled the same, but pronounced differently, words that are spelled differently, yet pronounced that same way, and even words that are spelled the same, pronounced the same and differently depending on the situation, and have different meanings. If this seems confusing, it is. Take a look at some examples to give you a clearer picture of homophones and homographs. 


These words sound exactly the same but have different meanings. Some have different spelling while some have the same spelling. Here are some examples of homophones and how to use them. 

1. Write vs. Right /rīt/

I try to write in my journal every day. 

Take a right turn and go down Smith Street. 

2. By vs. Buy vs. Bye /bī/

The book was written by John McDonald. 

When you go to the grocery store, can you buy me some milk?

Don’t say bye, say see you later. 

3. Brake vs. Break /brāk/

Susan was driving her car and had to hit the brake because a cat ran out in front of her. 

If you try to make that jump, you might break your leg.

4. Bored vs. Board /bÔrd/

There’s nothing to do today. I’m so bored!

I wrote your homework on the board. Please copy it down. 

5. Hair vs. Hare /her/

Rapunzel has long, beautiful hair

What’s the difference between a hare and a rabbit?

6. Here vs. Hear /hir/

I’ll wait here for you tomorrow morning. 

I can’t hear you, you’re breaking up. You must be in a place with bad cell phone service. 

7. Blue vs. Blew /blu/

My favourite colour is blue because it reminds me of the ocean. 

The wind blew so hard it knocked over the barn. 

8. Bow vs. Bow /bō/

The little girl had a pretty, yellow bow in her hair. 

Some people still hunt with a bow and arrow today.

rendered glass spheres with one different in between


Homographs are words that are spelled exactly the same but have different pronunciations as well as meanings. You need to have context in order to understand which word is being used because by themselves, they look the same. Here are some examples to show you. 

1. Tear vs. Tear

He shed a tear thinking about his siblings who were so far away. /tir/

If you pull too hard, you could tear the paper. /ter/

2. Dove vs. Dove

A dove is a sign of peace. /dv/

The scuba diver dove deep down into the ocean. /dōv/

3. Wind vs. Wind

The wind is really strong today. /wind/

You have to wind up that toy before it will spin around. /wīnd/

4. Bass vs. Bass

My brother plays the bass guitar in his band. /bās/

I went fishing yesterday and caught a bass. /bas/

5. Live vs. Live

I live in Toronto, Ontario. /liv/

I’m watching the game on live television tonight. /līv/

6. Desert vs. Desert

The Sahara Desert is located in Africa. /dezərt/

I don’t think anyone lives there. It looks deserted. /də’zərt/

7. Entrance vs. Entrance

This is the entrance to the museum, not the exit. /entrəns/

She was entranced by the colourful lights. /in’trans/

8. Bow vs. Bow 

When the show was over, the cast took a bow. /bou/

Put a bow on top of that present. /bō/

Think different concept , One hanging yellow idea bulb standing out from the dim unlit light bulbs on white wall background , leadership and individuality creative idea concepts . 3D rendering.

Learning new vocabulary can help for all aspects of the IELTS test. Knowing how each word is spelled, the definition and the pronunciation can benefit in all areas of listening, reading, writing, and speaking. 

Ashlee has been involved in the ESL world for over ten years and has now planted her roots in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nothing gives her more pleasure than watching students and candidates reach their language and IELTS goals.

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