Posted by: Idioma Extra | January 18, 2012

Thursday’s 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 deerpl. 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

1. The details from last year’s project are coming to me little by little.
2. If you stay overtime at work, leave in a cab that way you can get home safe and sound.
3. I love coming into work before anyone else, there is such peace and quiet.
4. When writing the new job description keep it short and sweet and to the point.
5. First and foremost, I would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication. Then I would like to congratulate you on a job well done.
6. You keep repeating the procedure again and again, with no positive result. I think you should try a new one.


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