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Commonly Used Homophone Challenge

What do homonyms, homographs, and homophones have in common? There is something that is the same about each of the pair of words or group of words in the category. It can be their spelling or their pronunciation. Young readers, and sometimes the older ones, can be baffled by these words. To be able to make meaning from what a person is reading, it is imperative that they know the different meanings of these words and when to use them. Practice with homonyms helps with understanding.

Practice can be fun! One way that homophones are used is in word plays. A word play is when one word is substituted for another similar word. The word play frequently results in a humorous misunderstanding. The Amelia Bedelia books are a way for young readers to explore word plays. The books are also amusing for older readers! If you have never read an Amelia Bedelia, you are in for a treat. These books are hilarious.

Below are definitions and examples for three related literary terms. Homonyms, Homographs, and Homophones all start with the same prefix. The prefix "homo" means the same.

*Homonyms-are spelled the same way. Homonyms are also pronounced the same way, but the meanings are different. Bear can mean a large, furry mammal. It can also mean to bring forth.
*A Homograph-is written the same way as another word, and both words are pronounced differently. The words have different meanings. Desert can mean to leave alone, but that spelling is also used to denote a hot, dry, sandy tract of land. The spelling bat can mean a flying mammal or a piece of ash used to hit a baseball.
*Homophones-are spelled differently and pronounced the same way, but the words have different meanings, The words sound alike, but they are spelled differently, and have different meanings.

While there are hundreds of homophone groups, some of the words are seldom used. Here is a list of some of the most frequently used, and misused, homophones. They are in alphabetical order, more, or less. How many of these can you use correctly? Let us know how you fare by posting in the Reading Forum!

A-E Common Homophones
accessary/accessory, ad/add, air/heir, aisle/I'll/isle, ant/aunt, bait/bate, ball/bawl, baron/barren, base/bass, be/bee, beat/beet, billed/build, blew/blue, boar/boor/bore, bold/bowled, bough/bow, bridal/bridle, broach/brooch, canvas/canvass, cede/seed, cheap/cheep, check/cheque, chord/cord, climb/clime, coarse/course, complement/compliment, council/counsel, cymbal/symbol, days/daze, dear/deer, desert/dessert, dew/due, die/dye, descent/dissent, dual/duel, eerie/eyrie

F-O Common Homophones
fair/fare, faun/fawn, faze/phase, feat/feat, fir/fur, flair/flare, flea/flee, for/four/fore, forth/fourth, foul/fowl, freeze/frieze, gait/gate, gamble/gambol, gild/guild, gilt/guilt, giro/gyro, gorilla/guerilla, grate/great, grisly/grizzly, groan/grown, hail/hale, hangar/hanger, heal/heel/he'll, hear/here, holy/holey/wholly, knave/nave, knew/new, know/no, lain/lane, lam/lamb, laps/lapse, leach/leech, lead/led, leak/leek, lean/lien, lessen/lesson, lieu/loo, lo/low, loop/loupe, made/maid, mail/male, main/mane, maize/maze, mall/maul, mantel/mantle, marshal/martial, mean/mien, meat/meet/mete, medal/meddle, metal/mettle, meter/metre, miner/minor, mind/mined, moat/mote, mode/mowed, moor/more, naval/navel, nay/neigh, ode/owed.

P-Z Common Homophones
packed/pact, packs/pax, pain/pane, pair/pear/pare, palate/palette/pallet, pause/paws, peak/peek/pique/peke, peal/peel, pedal/peddle, peer/pier, plain/plane, pleas/please, plum/plumb, pole/poll, prays/preys/praise, principal/principle, profit/prophet, rain/rein/reign, raise/rays/raze, real/reel, rest/wrest, retch/wretch, review/revue, ring/wring, road/rode, role/roll, roo/roux/rue, root/route, rose/rows, rote/wrote, rough/ruff, rung/wrung, rye/wry, scene/seen, scull/skull, seam/seem, sign/sine, sole/soul, spade/spayed, soar/sore, staid/stayed, stair/stare, stake/steak, stationary/stationery, swat/swot, tare/tear, taught/taut, tear/tier, there/their/they're, tic/tick, to/too/two, toad/toed/towed, tole/toll, vain/vane/vein, vale/veil, vial/vile, wail/wale/whale, waist/waste, wait/weight, waive/wave, ware/wear, warn/worn, wart/wort, way/weigh, weak/week, wet/whet, while/wile, whirl/whorl, who's/whose, woe/whoa, yoke/yolk.


Once upon a time, when all publishing was in the hands of professionals, books were carefully proofread and edited. Those editors were homophone experts. Self-publishing has brought us many new authors with exciting books. Unfortunately, even the best of these rely on spellcheck to make sure that the words in their books have the correct meaning for the context. Sometimes, the results are funny, but most of the time it is just frustrating to see language misused. Say what you mean; know your homophones! If you knew how to use most of these homophone groups correctly, you are well on your way!


If you have a young friend or relative who loves to read, give them the gift of Amelia Bedelia. Read along! You will share a lot of laughs.

Amelia Bedelia Chapter Book 10-Book Box Set Paperback


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