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OWL - Online Writing Lab: Homonyms and Homophones

Collection of short tutorials created by ASC, the Academic Support Center staff, to help students successfully execute the writing requirements at Louisville Seminary.

The may look alike, they may sound alike, but they're not.

Homonyms—two words spelled the same way but with different meanings, and often with different pronunciations.

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm used to produce produce.  
  • The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.    
  • The Polish polish their furniture every week.    
  • He could lead if he would get the lead out.        
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.    
  • A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.    
  • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.    
  • I did not object to the object.    
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid.     
  • Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.    
  • I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.    
  • I have a bone to pick with Fido about his bone.


Homophones—One of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning and spelling)
Just a few examples:

  • to, two, too 
  • they’re, their, there;    
  • aid, ade, aide    
  • aisle, I’ll, isle    
  • buy, by, bye    
  • cites, sites    
  • illicit, elicit    
  • for, four, fore    
  • it’s, its    
  • morn, mourn    
  • pair, pare, pear    
  • praise, prays, preys    
  • right, rite, write    
  • soar, sore    
  • sole, soul    
  • vain, vane, vein    
  • you’re, yore, your    
  • passed, past