Know Your Homophones: Spelling Counts

mircophone boy homophones

You might remember your elementary teachers assigning endless homonym and homophone worksheets every year. But that was a long time ago. If you need a fresh reminder, I am here to explain the difference between some of these commonly misused words.

First, we need to define our terms accurately.

Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs

You might have heard homonyms, homophones, and homographs used interchangeably.

They each are similar, but not quite the same. Think of it like how a square is a kind of rectangle, but a rectangle is never a square.

Homonyms = words with the same sound but have different meanings.

Most of the time, the reader will understand your intended meaning by the context.

“Eating Dates for Lunch” sounds yummy… but taking out of content, a reader might interpret that line as the plot of cannibal horror romance. The word date has two meanings in English, making it a homonym example.

Homophones = words that sound that same but have different spelling and meanings.

You probably will find homophones the most frustrating because there’s no trick to them. You have to memorize the different homophone spellings and their meanings to know the differences.

“Snacking on Twin Pears” sound like someone having a delicious fruit snack. However, “Snacking on Twin Pairs” sound like the cannibal is a picky eater. Pear and pair are homophone examples, just like weight and wait, doe and dough, whole and hole, etc…  

If you break apart the word homophone itself, it’s easier to remember its definition. In Greek, “homo” means the same and “phone” means sound.

Homographs = words spelled the same but have different pronunciation and meaning.

definition of homonym

Homographs exist purely to irritate English learners. It’s like you’re looking at a word in a sentence and it’s not the word it looks like at all. Weird, right?

For instance, the word bow has two meanings, and each has its own pronunciation.  

In the sentence, “The actors took a bow at the end of the play” bow sounds like cow and means to lower yourself in a gesture of respect. In “Louis tied his present with a red bow” the “ow” blend to make a long o sound in bow. You could also consider the word a homonym since there are two kinds of bows: the weapon and the kind of knot.

Another homograph example is minute, 60 seconds, and minute, very small details.

English is complicated even many to native speakers. Believe it or not, there are thousands of homonyms, homophones, and homographs! Before you start to feel overwhelmed, there’s a better way of looking at them.

Homophones with Puns and Silly Poems!

Rather than dreading the memory of those obnoxious homophone worksheets, try using the wrong word to create double meaning for puns, silly poems, and raps. Don’t look at homophones as an annoying editing chore. Live a little and have fun creating corny jokes. You’ll enjoy the learning process and, at the same time, memorize the differences between types of homophones and homonyms.

If you’re witty enough, impress your friends with your best dad jokes by incorporating puns in everyday conversation. You might even impress the empress sweetheart of your dreams! (see what I did there?)

Puns, one-liners, and quick-witted jokes are the highest form of sophisticated humor! You might have heard them referred to as a “play on words”. From my teaching experience, I believe learning should be a form a play! If you don’t enjoy it, you’re not doing it right.

In fact, I challenge you after reading this post to create your own short story, poem, or rap that creatively incorporate some of these homophones. Share away when finished. No copying my story!

Homophone Words (A to Z): Prince Rupert’s Tale

Here are 30 essential homophone words you should know to effectively write content and become a pun master:

(1) – Affect vs. Effect

Some English teachers might have taught you the mnemonic VANE, “verb affect, noun effect”. Unfortunately, they lied to you. You can use both words as verbs or nouns. Instead, think of the word affect as “to act upon one’s mental state” usually in an emotionally way, similar to affection. Then, the word effect means the “result or consequence of a cause”.  

The effect of the plague released the zombie curse. The elders had studied the Ancient’s teachings and knew the end was nigh. Their sad words affected everyone deeply.  

(2) – Air vs. Err vs. Heir

Air is another word for the wind or atmosphere. Err is the verb form of error. And, an heir is someone next in line to become monarch in a royal family. Like herb, the “h” is silent in heir, so remember you must use the indefinite pronoun “an” with it.  

Nearly a year later, the crisp air blew past the last heir to a powerful kingdom. He sat in deep contemplation. On the onset of the zombie apocalypse, he decided to err on the side of caution.  

(3) – Ball vs. Bawl

A ball is a sphere toy or sporting equipment. My dog loves his ball. You could also call a formal dance a ball. It’s also used in a more vulgar sense to refer to the male gonads. Along those lines, we commonly say a person “has balls” (or testicular fortitude) meaning they are bold and courageous. You can use ball as a verb as in to “ball up” or shape dough or clay into a sphere shape. English uses ball figuratively in idioms like “get the ball rolling”, meaning start things, and “drop the ball”, meaning to make a mistake.

On the other hand, bawl is a synonym for cry or shout and can be used as both a noun or verb. I bawl my eyes out every time my cat does something cute.   

The Swedish children used to play ball carefree in the streets, but then the zombies ate their brains. The nation mourned and their parents bawled for weeks on end.  

(4) – Base vs. Bass

Base has several meanings in English. It could refer to a facility, like a military base. Bases are the corners of a baseball diamond that players run around to score. The base of a column or shaft is the lowest level. Or base could mean the more intangible foundation or support of an idea or argument, similar to basis.

Bass is tricky because it’s also a homograph. Bass with a long “a” sound refers to the bass tone in music and is a homophone with base. But bass the fish, also known as perch, is pronounced with a short “a” sound. So, you could have a boy bass that burps bass bellowing at the bottommost base of the river. Try saying that 10 times fast!

As the undead overran the country, the boy prince ordered the construction of a secret base on the ocean floor. He quickly moved all his knights and barons to the safety of the new royal headquarters. The pampered child even made arrangements for his beloved bass clarinet to travel to the palace in a special submarine.  

(5) – Bare vs. Bear

Mixing these two homophones can have very humorous results.

Bare is an adjective meaning empty or nude.

Bear as a noun means the animal, though as a verb is used in several idioms and phrases. To “bear children” means to give birth, the past tense being “bore” (but “bare children” is naked kiddos). Then, “bear” with an object can mean to carry, possess, or endure, as in to “the right to bear arms” (but the “right to bare arms” sounds like the demands of cultists or feminist). If you “bear with” someone or something, you have patience for them. In nautical terms, to “bear down” means to approach another ship (but “bare down” might mean to strip!).

In the height of the Zombie International Crisis (ZIC), the young prince, Rupert by name, bathed in his underwater luxury accommodations. The warm water soothed his bare skin. He couldn’t bear the thought of helpless people dying.

(6) – Boar vs. Bore

Boar is a wild pig-like mammal. Boar’s Head is a meat packaging company that strangely doesn’t serve boar. The noun doesn’t change from singular to plural, but it seems some dictionaries accept both boar and boars.

Bore is a verb meaning to dull or tire someone. Your history professor might give a very boring lecture on the Peruvian social structure in the 1960s. You could also use as a noun. Your date from last Thursday might have been a bore at dinner. Now the past tense verb form bored should not be confused with board, meaning a wooden plank. So, it’s a homophone within a homophone?

boar bore homophone

Before long, the virus infected even the animals! The boar, bears, and deer became enraged and twisted into revolting demon forms. They, in turn, spread the contagion to the seals and walruses. Eventually, the sickness affected the sharks, squids, and finally the deep anglerfish. Prince Rupert, who had grown quite bored, quickly became alarmed.

(7) – Bye vs. By vs. Buy

Bye is an abbreviation of goodbye. You might be surprised that dictionaries don’t agree on the preferred spelling. You could write goodbye, goodby, good-bye, or good-by. “Goodbye” is the most popular and preferred by the Associated Press. Because of all this confusion, you actually could write bye or by and both mean farewell. Remain consistent and align with your editing standards. It’s interesting to note that “goodbye” itself originated as an old English contraction of “God be with ye”.  

In sports, a bye round of a tournament is where a player or team advances without facing an opponent, usually because of an odd number of participants.

By is a preposition loosely meaning from (“the book is by Stephen King”), around (“Steve rode his bike by the lake”), or approximately (“I am taller than you by seven inches”).  

Buy is a verb meaning to purchase, the past tense being bought.

You could also consider bi, a shorthand for bisexual, a homophone in this group.

Meanwhile, the few remaining European survivors banded together and formed a colony in the caves of the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. They lived in harmony using a simple code: no one person was more important than another. By firmly believing everyone had value, they cooperated to create a safe and thriving community. Soon an economy developed where villagers could buy and sell crafts using coins minted by approval of the elders. Together, the elected council hoped to finally say ‘bye to the terror of the outside world.    

(8) – Core vs. Corp

Core is the central part or idea of something. The apple core contains the seeds.  

Corp is an organization or unit of people, usually in the military. The Marine Corps protects the nation. The “p” is silent, so is the “s” in the plural form. You would never say corps like “corpse”.

The elder council became the core leadership of the society. They sent corps of scouts to clear the country roads and forage for food. Soon they reclaimed enough land for the colony to farm potatoes. Then, mysteriously, men of the cloth wandered into the midsts and shared their message of salvation.    

(9) – Conscience vs. Conscious

Your conscience is your moral principles that guide you. Think of Jimmy Cricket and how he advised little Pinocchio.

Conscious is the state of being awake and aware of something. You could be unconscious under sedation before an operation or while drunk.  

You should follow conscience in making a tough choice, hopefully, while you’re conscious enough to know what you’re doing.

The Tatra Republic, as it came to be known, became the last center of human civilization. The holy men from the Church of Zanzabu came more frequently and began to patrol the base of the mountain. Zombies and other hellish creatures didn’t dare approach once the monks established their sanctum on the summit. But it wouldn’t be long before the evil forces organized a plan of attack! Over the next month, the children of the colony slowly disappeared without a trace. The people searched in vain and began to panic. The High Priest assured the people they had nothing to fear. Yet, one determined warrior named Kazimierz decided to investigate and spy on the enemy himself! He conscience told him the cunning clerics were hiding something. One night, he ventured down to the valley to sneak about the zombie masses. He found them bowing down around a crystal prism atop an ungodly altar. Kazimierz could see an ugly, demented monster of a man trapped unconscious inside the glass.    

(10) – Ensure vs. Insure

Ensure means to make certain or secure. Before leaving for work, you should ensure you’re wearing pants.

Insure is to issue protection from damage under as under an insurance policy. State Farm insures automobiles and mobile homes.

Assure, meaning to encourage or give promise to, isn’t technically a homophone because it has a slightly different pronunciation, though it’s still commonly confused with others. I used it in the previous paragraph of the story. The Church of Zanzubu assured, or promised, the people they would be safe…. little did they know…   

Suddenly, out of the shadows, the High Priest walked slowly through the crowds of the living dead! He cradled a small girl in his arms. The child appeared dazed in a trance or under some wicked spell. The girl, caught in her magic stupor, approached the crystal tomb. Instantly, her body melted to the bone and the flesh poured through the translucent casing to feed the monster inside. The Ancients told that only the blood of innocents could ensure the creature’s resurrection, or so the stories tell. Kazimierz had heard the legends of the Lord Festus the Zombie King, but he never believed them. Few people gave credence to old myths of bygone ages. The wise elders still feared his return. They understood the prophecies and even purchased policies to insure against the fiend’s destruction.

(11) – Hanger vs. Hangar

Hangers are the hooks in your closet, while hangars are shelters for planes. As a way to remember the difference, hanger has a second “a” and is used airplanes, though they could also apply to submarines… as in the next part of our tale:

Nearly 800 miles away, Prince Rupert rummaged through his hangers for his best suit. He had to dress in style if he was to return to the surface. In the final moments, as the waters rushed in and destroyed the palace, Prince Rupert fled to the hangar and fired up his favorite yellow submarine, leaving his court servants and advisors to die. As he ascended the ocean depths, he remembered his old bass clarinet was still stored securely in the cockpit. He smiled at the fond memories he had practicing his scales.     

(12) – License vs. Licence

In American English, license is both a noun and verb. However, in British English, licence is the noun form and license is the verb. To hunt game, the state must license you, and you must carry your licence with you at all times in parks.

Unfortunately, the little prince was too young to acquire his submarine licence, and he had abandoned his engineering corp to their deaths. In frustration, he fiddled with the colorful buttons, levers, and switches. His meddling caused the console to smoke and settings go haywire! The vessel shifted and rolled every which way. He cursed his father, the king, for not having the decency to license his only son!    

(13) – Lightening vs. Lightning

Confusing these two homophone words could lead electrifying deliveries.  

Lightening is the present participle of the word “lighten” and either relates to shading or weight. Dumping cargo is a good way of lightening a ship. Johnny’s cheap camera had a poor lightening effect on the photos. You could also use it figuratively in the phrase “lightening the mood”.

And ahh… lightening is also a noun that refers to when the head of an unborn baby moves and settles in the pelvic region of the pregnant mother during the third trimester. Jennifer knew her delivery was soon because she felt the lightening of the baby.

Lightning is the flash of electricity in the sky during a storm.

Sparks of lightning shot out of the submarine’s circuitry. Flames charred Prince Rupert’s face as he quickly reached towards the big red button on the center control. He hadn’t tried that one yet. Immediately, his seat blasted him above a hatch above him and into the wide blue sea. The royal brat held his breath long enough for a clear bubble casing to wrap around his body. As the pod still rocketed through the water, he let out a sigh of relief. Curious though, he poked his little finger at the glowing bubble wall and created a beautiful lightening effect with a pulse of rainbow colors.

 

(14) – Hoard vs. Horde

Hoard is a verb meaning to hold on to something obsessively.

Horde is a noun that refers to a nomadic group of peoples, like Genghis Khan’s Golden Horde or the orc hordes of Mordor.

zombie homophones

Prince Rupert landed squarely on the beaches of Poland’s northern shore. The bubble capsule faded and he tumbled out onto the sand. He lamented ruining his fancy suit, though he hoarded his precious bass clarinet. Even though the bulk case to it slowed him down, he considered it an essential item in his quest. He knew it was time to fulfill his destiny. He couldn’t avoid it any longer. As he made his way inland, a roaming undead horde began to chase him all through the countryside.

   

(15) – Lead vs. Led

Lead is the metal found in pencils. Lead-contaminated water can make you very sick.

Led is the past participle of the verb lead. Confused? That’s because lead is homograph. Lead with a short “e” refers to the metal, while lead with a long “e” sound is the act of showing leadership as in “lead the way, captain!”. George Washington led his country to victory in the American Revolution.

The prince ran as far as he could, but he realized he had to face the zombies. He reached into his silk trousers and pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and filled the freaks with lead. His weapon of choice was fully customized to output the most precise shots and had a light purple paint job. He felt assured of victory, but soon the hungry foes cornered him in the deserted town. Then, suddenly, a stranger appeared out of an alley and saved him with a spell of blinding light. The man led the way to safety.

(16) – Mussels vs. Muscles

Mussels are a general name for many edible clams that are somewhat a delicacy. Your expensive dinner date might involve dining on mussel soup.

Muscles are masses of tissue under your skin. You go to the gym go to build beefy muscles.

mussels mussles homophone

It’s possible that deep on the ocean floor exist the most fabulous muscular mussel, the biggest bodybuilding mollusk in all the seven seas!

When they settled into a shelter outside the town, the stranger introduced himself as Kazimierz. He mostly lived on the beach because he could easily catch and eat mussels. For almost a year now, the once naive Kaz had lived on his own wandering about Europe searching for a way to undo the ritual of the Zombie King. The monster overload had now risen to life and, soon after, destroyed the Tarta Republic, thanks to the deception of the Church of Zanzabu. The lone warrior Kaz stood against the evil by learning old magic and growing big muscles.

(17) – Peel vs. Peal

Peel is the action of removing the skin or outer layer of something. You could also call the skin of a fruit the peel. So, you would peel a banana peel.

Does the word peal ring any bells? Yes! Peal is a noun and verb meaning “sound loudly”. It’s usually associated with church bells, though it could apply to things like gunfire, fireworks, or laughter. I tend to think of how “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day” uses the word towards the end.

Kaz was honored to meet a royal prince. He peeled the shells off of his collection of mussels, and they enjoyed lunch. Rupert proudly announced he had a secret weapon to finished off the zombies for good! The awful peal of his bass clarinet would hypnotize the hellish beasts. Kaz was angered the little prince had hidden away for so long, and he doubted the plan would even work. They decided they should test out the theory.

(18) – Peek vs. Peak vs. Pique

Peek is to sneak a look at something. Many high school boys have tried to peek into the girls’ locker room. You might have played peek-a-boo with your baby.

The peak is the highest point of something, particularly a mountain. You could use it in an adjective expression. The legendary muscular mussel worked his shell to peak performance.

Pique means to excite someone’s interest or curiosity. It also means to annoy or anger someone. You have to rely on the context to interpret. An attractive lady may pique your attention, but if you’re caught ogling, you may pique your girlfriend into slapping you.

They journeyed into the next town and peeked around the corner of a wall. A group of zombies strolled mindlessly at the peak of a hill in the center of the abandoned plaza. The brave Kaz jumped out and shot a fireball spell into the sky. The blaze of flames and scattering of ashes piqued the interest of the undead.

(19) – Poor vs. Pore vs. Pour

Poor is the opposite of wealthy. Aladdin was a poor street rat.

Pores are the microscopic openings in your skin that secrete sweat. In geology, it’s also the gaps between sediment and soil that allow water to seep through to the bottom. Your property might have porous rocks around the garden.

As a verb, pore means to read or glance over something.

And then, pour means to release or let flow a liquid. You pour milk into your cereal bowl. However, you could use it figuratively. You might pour your heart out in confessing to a crush… but you would pore over your studies before a test since that’s literally reviewing your notes and the textbook.

Prince Rupert readied his instrument and let out a thunderous deep bellowing sound. Poor Kaz covered his ears as the hideous noise filled the air. The ugly creatures became enchanted by the obnoxious notes pouring into their minds. Their feet began to shuffle uncontrollably. Their hips swayed to and fro. The music seeped into very pores and reached into vacant souls.  

    

(20) – Principal vs. Principle

The principal, as a noun, is the head administrator of a school or other organization. You can remember this definition because the word ends in “pal”, and your principal is your pal. Right? In finance, it means the initial amount of a loan before interest. Used as an adjective, principal means the highest rank or importance. Jim Carrey was the principal comedy actor of the 1990s.

A principle is a doctrine or rule. Your professor might explain the principles of chemistry in a lecture. If someone refuses something out of the “principle of the matter”, they are referring to their personal code of morals or honor, not their high school principal.

The melody, though distasteful, put the zombies in a dancing mood! The expression on their faces transformed from stone cold to a recognizable smile. Their eyes brightened and glowed with misty tears. Slowly their natural life returned. Kaz soon recognized one as his elementary principal… But the music wasn’t enough to free them. The zombies screamed and collapsed before completely renewing their human form. Prince Rupert was astonished at the power of music. They both talked it over for a long while. They could use the instrument to destroy them, but, out of principle, they decided it better to save them.  

     

(21) – Rain vs. Rein vs. Reign

Rain is water the falls down during a storm.

Reins could refer to the harness stripes on horses that riders use to direct the animal or “to rein in” the horse is the verb form. More figuratively, you could rein in or control anything. Someone who is always angry needs to rein in their outbursts.

Reign is the rule of a leader, typically a monarch. Ivan the Terrible reigned as Tsar of All Russia from 1533 to 1547.

From that day onward, Prince Rupert wrote and practiced music. Over time, he reined in his wild timing and awkward fingerings. He and Kaz were convinced they could reverse the zombie curse with lovely music. They just needed to refine some notes here and there. Before long, they hoped to overthrow the reign of the Zombie King…. But one night, as the rain poured down and drenched through their shelter, priests of the Church of Zanzabu rushed in and attacked!   

(22) – Read vs. Reed

Read is to look and comprehend words in a book, magazine, brochure, etc… You are reading these words. Read is interesting because it’s spelled the same in the past tense but pronounced differently, making it a homograph with itself. In the past, read sounds like “red”.

Reeds are a kind of stalk plants that grow in marshes. They are used for some wind instruments.

The High Priest heard rumors of an enchanted bass clarinet that had the Ancients foretold long ago. To be certain, he ordered the execution of anyone who could read music. The world under the Zombie King must remain one devoid of any remotely beautiful sounds. The order’s assassin’s reached central Poland and followed a trail of reeds leading them straight to Prince Rupert.

(23) – Real vs. Reel

Real is what is true or exists in reality.

A reel is a cylinder tool used to store and play motion pictures or a fishing reel is a spool the wire is wrapped around the pole. As an action, you reeling is to wind back up the reel spool. But you can reel your body by spinning or wobbling. A boxer might reel away from a punch.

reel vs real homophone

The priest assassins caught Kaz and Prince Rupert by surprise. They reeled away from their daggers as best they could, but their assailants were too fast. One stabbed Kaz deep in the chest. Another quick swing of a blade slashed his thigh. The prince struggled away from his own attacker, pulled out his trusty purple pistol, and dispatched the religious enforcers. Yet, Kaz dropped to the floor in pain. He whispered to his Scandinavian friend, “The power of music isn’t in the instrument or the notes or even the lyrics. The real magic of life… it in the passion of your heart.” Then he breathed his last.  

(24) – Toe vs. Tow

Toes are the appendages on the end of your feet. You should wash between your toes when you bathe.

Tow is to pull or haul something as with a chain or cord. If you park in the fire lane, the city may tow your vehicle and ticket you. If you’ve been to a busy harbor, you might have seen a cute little tow boat tugging a freight ship.  

In agony, Prince Rupert towed his friend’s body outside. He spent an hour digging a proper grave, promised himself to set things right, and buried the fallen warrior. He played the saddest song ever on his bass clarinet. Chills rolled down his body from head to toe as he contemplated bring balance to the world.  

(25) – Their vs. They’re vs. There

If you cannot win an argument online, the next best thing is to correct someone’s misuse of these homophones! (Seriously, I don’t recommend becoming a grammar Nazi and trolling people. It’s too much work)

Their is a possessive case of the pronoun they. Your teacher might be worried the students forgot their homework.

They’re is a contraction of “they are”. They’re 30 days in June.

There is an unspecified place or time away from you, the opposite of “here”. My brother tried to help me in a video game by pointing out, “He’s hiding over there!”

Prince Rupert knew he had to make things right. People deserve their lives back. There is no joy without the art of sound and dance. The prince had the power and thus the responsibility to restore life to the mindless masses. Their freedom was in his hands! Yet, it required him to face his greatest enemy… the Zombie King, his father! Living up there on the Tatra Mountains, the undead king felt safe and in control. Now, his outcast son planned to return to save his father and end his madness. They’re worlds apart, but music would bring them together.

(26) – To vs. Too vs. Two

To is a preposition that indicates direction. Every weekday I drive to work.

Too is an adverb meaning in addition or also. Do you love ice cream? I do too! It might also mean “in excess”. Too much ice cream gives you a tummy ache.

Two is the next whole number after one. I have two little dogs.

The young heir ran out with determination to Slovakia. He stealthy scaled the steep stone and gravel incline up the mountain. By the time he reached the summit, his two hands were covered in knicks and bruises. He was not deterred as he dashed down halls to the sanctum of the Church of Zanzabu. The Zombie King sat on a golden throne with the hellish creatures all bowed in worship. Even the deceitful priests too pay homage.     

(27) – Waist vs. Waste

Your waist is the width of your belt line. Cheerleaders tend to have small waists.

Waste as a noun means junk, garbage, or a desolate place. As a verb, to waste something is throw it out, destroy it, or fail to utilize it. As an adjective, wasteful is using something in excess or in a greedy way. Wasteful spending can lead to debt (that’s lead as in direct you to, not the metal. See #15).  

As the veneration of the king continued, the High Priest appeared out of the shadows without his shirt and beautiful women clutched at his waist. The crowds were captivated in royal adoration, their sense too dulled to notice the villain enter the stage. He laughed and shouted, “Everyone seeks something to worship, some idol to waste their thoughts and captivate their minds. I’ve given the world what they crave. Now I am free to do as I please as the fools waste away.” The women at his side smiled at his cunningness and kissed him.    

(28) – Vain vs. Vein

Vain can be an adjective to describe someone as being extremely conceited or short-sighted. Otherwise, it could describe an action that is useless or fails to achieve its goal. And, to take the “Lord’s name in vain” would be to speak it irrelevantly.

Veins are the blood vessels under your skin.

Chains retrained the Zombie King in his exquisite chair. Though the face was ugly and disfigured, Prince Rupert recognized the man behind the monster. Even if had been 10,000 years, they were still family. The same blood ran through their veins. Once the father had been king of the Underworld, but he banished his son for giving aid to dying humans. The dead were appointed to die at their assigned hour. When the king learned that his son even taught them magic and ruled over Sweden, he considered it divine treason and launched a war against him. The humans fought in vain against the immortal Lord Festus, King of the Underworld. The Ancients, powerful human mages, could only seal the god of death into a crystal tomb.

   

(29) – You vs. Yew vs. Ewe

You is the second personal pronoun in English. It could be both singular or plural, though some country folk say ya’ll (contraction of “you all”).

Yews are evergreen trees, and they are the favored material for bows. Skilled medieval archers crafted their own yew bows.

Ewes are female sheep.

ewe you yew homophone

Prince Rupert, with bass clarinet in hand, leaped down from his hidden nook in the ceiling. The High Priest reared back in astonishment, and his girls fled. The Zombie King, whom the prince knew as Lord Festus, angrily roared, “Son! Have you returned to mock and defy me as before, as the mortal world does now!” The boy prince approached the boldly golden throne. He said, “No… I’ve come to forgive your hate and say… you’re right. I hate people dying. Mortals are fragile like gentle ewes. They deserve care and guidance, but there must be a balance. Without death, they are caught in this limbo state. They cannot understand life without appreciating both the end and the beginning. They cannot be the living dead anymore. I started this curse, thinking it would be a blessing. But I am here to make it right.” Then he began to play the sweetest sound on his instrument. The yew walls and columns of the temple violently shook.       

(30) – Your vs. You’re

Your is the possessive case of the pronoun you. Your browser is open to this webpage.

You’re is a contraction of “you are”. You’re accessing my website.  

The throng of zombies rose and became wide-eyed with wonder. They rolled their arms high in excitement as the color returned to their skin, their hair grew back, and their voices echoed the music. The sound slowly returned their mortality and ended their misery. But then, the High Priest launched a lightning bolt from his palms and shattered the enchanted bass clarinet! “It’s over! Without your pretty little jingles, you’re finished. Attack him!” he ordered triumphantly. The zombies, dazed and confused, rushed to the platform and grabbed hold of the prince.

But, just as many of the zombies reach in for a hunk of flesh, the boy calmly said, “That’s where you’re wrong.” Then, he continued the lovely song by singing from the bottom of his heart. Moments later, the zombies all changed completely back to their human forms. Some collapsed and died instantly. Others people stood stunned and in disbelief at everything around them. Many recognized the High Priest and knew his schemes. They chased after him and tackled the frail old man to the ground. Prince Rupert, the heir to the Underworld kingdom, freed his father from the chains. He spent the next month reversing the zombie curse around the world. Finally, he returned with Lord Festus, where he belonged.   


That’s 30 of most commonly misused homophones, but there are countless more. Which ones do you have trouble mixing up? There might be some mnemonic or trick to remember the difference. The best and most fun, way to learn is always incorporating what you do in creative writing! I had fun writing the zombie story.

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