Posted by: Idioma Extra | October 28, 2010

Thursday Tidbit


Heteronyms: Same spelling, but different meaning

Pronunciation is one of the most challenging aspects of learning the English language. There are words that are spelled differently, but with the same pronunciation (there/their/they’re). There are words that are spelled the same but change meaning when stressed differently (REcord/reCORD). There are also words that are spelled the same, but with different OR same pronunciation, as well as different meanings. This last example are words we call heteronyms. Here we will only focus on heteronyms that have different pronunciation. Which ones are you familiar with? Which ones are new to you?

Different pronunciation and meaning

Live (give)-to reside Live(five)-happening now; not recorded
Wind (find) – to wrap around; to turn a coil (like a watch) Wind (sinned) – air current
Lead (need) – to direct Lead (red) – graphite (like in a pencil)
Tear (where) – to separate by force (like paper or fabric) Tear (near) – a liquid discharge when crying
Bass (face) the lowest range of a musical instrument Bass (gas) – a type of fish
Close (nose) – to shut (a door) Close (ghosts) – to be near
Does (flows) – female deer pl. Does (was) – third person form of “do”
Dove (love) – a type of bird Dove (stove) – past tense of “dive”
Read (need) –  the act of looking at written information Read (red) – the past tense of “read”
Bow (know) – an instrument used to launch arrows Bow (now) – the formal act of bending to display respect

Check yourself

In each of the following sentences, underline the word in parenthesis that has the same sound as the italicized word.

1. Does (was / flows) he see the bass (gas / face) in the lake?

2. Yesterday I read (feed / said) that Pearl Jam will be performing live (dive / forgive) in Costa Rica next month.

3. I saw a tear (near / where) in his eye when the dove (stove / love) flew into his head.

4. You should always close (dose / knows) your eyes and bow (grow / how) when in the presence of a king.

5. I need to read (bed / seed) the directions on how to wind (kind / thinned) my watch.

6. I drew a picture of a bass (gas / case) with a lead (feed / head) pencil.

7. Please close (knows / dose) the door so the wind (mind / sinned) doesn’t enter.

8. I dove (stove / love) into a lake that is near where I live (give / five).

Answers to last week’s Check Yourself

Look at the following sentences and write which sense (1-5) is being used next to the sentence.

1. Could you get me a pizza on your way home? _4_

2. I got some bad news from my doctor yesterday. _1_

3. My mother always gets annoyed when I don’t clean my room. _2_

4. What time do you think you’ll get to the beach? _3_

5. I can never get my dog to learn any new tricks. _5_

6. I got a book on how to improve your memory. _1_

7. I always get nervous before a test. _2_

8. It is difficult to get children to listen. _5_

9. I haven’t gotten to that part of the presentation yet. _3_

10. When do you think you can get me the results? _4_


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