Every day we decipher the meaning of words based on only their sound and context. How can we remember the meaning, and learn the spelling, of words that sound exactly the same?
What are Homophones?
The word homophone itself can be split into two root parts: homo meaning same and phone meaning sound. They are words that sound the same while spoken, but have a different meaning, and even the spelling can be different.
For example, Bat and Bat:
More Examples are:
Wright and Right
Witch and Which
Hide and Hide
Do you remember when you were in grade school and you always confused their, there, and they’re? And to, too, and two? I’m sure your teacher does.
Even now it is so easy to to confuse all of the homophones, so here are some helpful ideas of how to remember!
According to the Virgina I Bypass, an online source for tutoring, creating phrases or mnemonic devices for the homophones that you usually forget is a great way to remember!
To remember the difference between Meat and Meat you can remember:
You can eat Meat, so put eat in Meat!
To remember Here vs. Hear:
People hear with ears, so put ear in hear!
To remember Stare and Stairs:
Balloons rise in the air as people would climb stairs, so put air in stairs.
Unfortunately, some homophones are not so simple. For example:
To remember Stationery vs. Stationary:
You can’t put ‘still’ in stationary, nor ‘letter’ in stationary, so you have to be a little more creative, for example:
Letters are written on stationeries. Stationery and letter both have the letter e!
To remember Slay vs Sleigh:
Horses who pull sleighs, neigh!
Homophones in Righting
Some poets play with the idea of the homophones, using the appropriate homophone to make their poem more poetic, or playing with the repetition of the same sound.
Buy Michael J. Spangle
Homophones are such a pane.
Mistakes show up thyme and again.
Poets are the wurst at using rime
Sew many errors are such a crime.
Yew never no ware ewe will sea
A homophone count won, too, three!
And Yule never know how, ore even wen,
A homophone will strike again
Due you understand these words eye rite?
Dew they make scents to you’re site?
Than you have entered a mystery
Deeper then the deep blew see.
Believe it or not, the sentence below is grammatically correct:
Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo
The word buffalo has three different meanings:“the city of Buffalo, New York; the uncommon verb to buffalo, meaning “to bully or intimidate” and the animal itself, buffalo.” “Translated” the sentence means “Bison from Buffalo, bully bully bison from Buffalo.”
Try using homophones in your writing symbolically, but remember to create your mnemonic devices so you never forget which is which!