language The Trickiest Homonyms in the English Language  

Amy Boal
590 votes 124 voters 3.5k views 37 items Embed

Homonyms are sound-alike words that can really trip you up. Some people call them "homophones" instead, but either term means essentially the same thing: two (or more) words that sound alike, but have totally different meanings, and often different spellings. Take for instance the simple word "capital." "Wait, don't you mean 'capitol'?" you are probably shouting. No, I don't. I am talking about money not about the White House. Duh.

Don't let homonyms get you down. This informative list of tricky homonyms will help you keep it all straight. Take a moment to learn the difference between "affect" and "effect," "led" and "lead," and "allude" and "elude" once and for all - and be sure to vote up the most confusing and tricky homonyms below, so that the stuff writers of the English language most need to remember is right there at the top.

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24 4
Carat / Karat a weight measurement of precious stones / a fineness measurement of gold

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26 7
Capital / Capitol money or of importance / a building like the White House

3
28 10
Affect / Effect a verb / a noun

4
18 5
A While / Awhile a noun / an adverb

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15 3
Premier / Premiere first in importance or a prime minister / a first performance of something

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14 3
Flak / Flack criticism or anti-aircraft fire / a publicity agent

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16 7
Fiancé / Fiancée a man who is engaged to be married / a woman who is engaged to be married

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12 4
Eminent / Imminent distinguished, notable / about to happen

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14 9
Allude / Elude hint at / escape from

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8 6
Pallet / Palate / Palette those wood things under big shipments / the roof of your mouth & your taste in food / where you mix paints

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9 10
Queue / Cue a line / indication that it is your turn

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8 9
Led / Lead was in charge of or showed something the way / what mechanical pencils have in them

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6 7
Who's / Whose a contraction of "who" and "is" / a possessive pronoun

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8 10
Your / You're it belongs to you / a contraction of "you" and "are"

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7 9
By / Bye / Buy near / see you later / to purchase something

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4 6
Ranker / Rancor this website! / bitterness or resentfulness

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4 7
Principal / Principle your pal and person who runs a school / a fundamental truth or proposition

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3 6
Aid / Aide to give help or assistance /  an assistant

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6 10
Steal / Steel take something that isn't yours / metal

20
6 10
There / Their / They're that place / that person's / a contraction of "they" and "are"

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6 10
Cord / Chord like a rope or whatever / a group of musical notes that sound great together

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4 8
Cite / Site to credit a source / a specific place or location

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3 7
Pour / Pore to make a liquid flow in a steady stream / to read or study attentively

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3 7
Canon / Cannon law or tenet, accepted official storyline or body of work / big gun

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3 7
Pedal / Peddle / Petal like on a bike / to sell or hawk your wares / the pretty parts of flowers

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4 9
Past / Passed a noun / the past tense of a verb

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4 9
Feet / Feat the things at the end of your legs or 12 inches / something someone accomplishes

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3 8
Muscles / Mussels soft tissue that you work out by lifting, bro / seafood that is kind of like clams

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4 10
Allowed / Aloud is okay to do / the opposite of silent

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2 9
Pail / Pale a bucket / light or having little color

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2 9
Hole / Whole hollow place in a body or surface / entire, complete, all of

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2 9
Threw / Through past tense of throw / moving in one side and out the other side of something

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5 14
Aural / Oral of the ear / of the eye

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3 12
Wear / Where to don something, like a cute dress / a question word asking the subject's location

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1 7
Insight / Incite a deep understanding / encourage, stir up, or persuade

36
2 10
Won / One the opposite of lose / the number right before two

37
3 13
Do / Due to take an action / it's time for something to happen or be completed