Have you ever wondered about the difference between the following words?
Brake x break
Deer x dear
Prize x price
These words are called homophones, which means that these words have different spelling but the same pronunciation.
Let's have a look at some commonest pairs which can be a nightmare for English students.
/breɪk/ The break was not working so I couldn't stop. X When is your lunch break?
Brake = the equipment in a car used for slowing down
Break = time for rest, a pause in a programme
/dɪə(r)/ I saw a deer in the field. X How are you, my dear?
/praɪz/ She is a Nobel Prize winner. X What's the price of a new car?
Prize = a reward
Price = the amount of money you have to pay for something you want to buy
/teɪl/ Don't step on the cat's tail! X Do you want me to tell you a fairy tale?
Tail = a part at the back of an animal’s body that can move
/həʊl/ Did you eat the whole cake? X We have a lot of holes in the garden.
Whole = a complete thing, all of something
Hole = space in surface
/hɪə(r)/ Did you hear the news? X No one was here.
Hear = notice sound, receive information
Here = an adverb meaning in or to this place
/miːt/ Do you eat meat? X Did you meet your friends at the weekend?
Meet = come together with somebody
/hɜː(r)d/ Have you heard the news? X I have got a herd of cattle.
Heard = past participle of the verb hear
/daɪ/ When did you dye your hair? X When did your grandpa die?
Dye = to change the colour of something
Die = stop being alive
/weə(r)/ Where do you come from? X Were you at school?
Where = a conjunction, relative or question adverb referring to a place
Were = the past form of be in plural
/red/ Have you read this news? X I want to paint my walls red.
Read = the past participle of read
Red = the same colour as blood
/hiːl/ How is your wound healing? X Does your heel still hurt?
Heal = to make a part of the body healthy again
/preɪ/ He prays five times a day. X The cheetah stalked its prey.
Pray = to speak to God or a saint
/peə(r)/ I need to get a new pair of jeans. X Do you eat pears?
Pair = two things of the same type
Pear = a fruit
/ðeə(r)/ There is a very old castle. X Their hobbies are DIY and hiking.
There = a word functioning as a pronoun, interjection, adverb; used for saying where sth exists
Their = a possessive determiner of they
/wiːk/ My arms are so weak. X You've got one week to finish this task.
Weak = not having much energy and physical strength
Week = a period of seven days
To see more homophones, look at this table: