Friday, 4 March 2016

Homonyms, homographs, homophones

(i)   share the same spelling and
(ii)  the same pronunciation but
(iii) have different meanings. For example, bear.

bear (the animal) can bear (tolerate) very cold temperatures.
The driver turned left (opposite of right) and left (departed from) the main road.
Yes, I can (am able to) carry the can (container).
You’ll look better in this suit (dress); if you don’t like it, well, suit yourself (wear whatever you want).
You’ll get a fair (reasonable) price at the fair (exhibition).

Homophones are also known as sound-alike words; they are words that
(i)   are pronounced identically but
(ii)  have different meanings and often
(iii) have different spellings.

These words are a very common source of confusion when writing.
Here are a few examples:
to, too, and two
they're and their
bee and be
sun and son
which and witch
plain and plane.
addition and edition
ascent and assent
desert and dessert

Homographs are words that
(i)   are spelled the same, but
(ii)  have different meanings and
(iii) are often pronounced differently.

Some examples of homographs are:
bass as in fish vs bass as in music
bow as in arrow vs bow as in bending or taking a bow at the end of a performance
close as in next to vs close as in shut the door
desert as in dry climate vs desert as in leaving alone.

Heteronyms or Heterophones have
(i)   same spelling,
(ii)  different pronunciations,
(iii) different meanings.

All heteronyms are homographs, but not all homographs are heteronyms. See why this concept can be so confusing to learn?
I need to wind the alarm clock so I can fly my kite in the early morning gusty wind.
Please record the program when they try to beat the world record for word nerdiness.
Please excuse this poor excuse for art.

Capitonyms are different words spelled the same except for the capitalization. Sometimes they are pronounced the same, sometimes they are not.

I like to visit the country of Turkey and eat that American bird, turkey.
My mobile phone ironically did not work in Mobile, Alabama.
In May, when spring is almost over, I may pack away my winter clothes.
The Polish refugee said nothing but went straight to work putting polish on the silver.
On the Ides of March, we will march in the parade.