There are many words in your own language that have the same sound but are spelled differently and have a different meaning. They are called homophones = same sound. The English language has many homophones as well. And since we use them all the time, it is important to understand them. They are also a common source of humour in jokes and often occur in riddles.

Regional accents may affect whether words are homophones. Therefore, some of the words below may not be homophones in other dialects and regions. For example, in the U.S. due and do are pronounced alike, but in most British accents they sound different.

whole – the full amount; complete

This is the whole story.

hole – an opening, a hollowed place in a something solid

There is a hole in the door.


new – never used before; opposite of old

I bought a new car.

knew – past tense of “to know”

I knew all the words.


see – to perceive with the eye

I can see you.

sea – the ocean

We sailed across the sea.


one – a single entity; undivided

There was only one piece of cake left.

won – past tense of “to win”

I won the championship                                                                           


ate – past tense of “to eat”

I ate my cookie                                                                                                

eight – the number 8

I bought eight tickets to the concert.                                                                                                     


hear – to detect a sound

Did you hear that?                                                                                         

here – something being in one’s current position

There is a strange smell here.


it’s – shortening of “it is”

It’s a great day today.

its – possessive pronoun; belonging to it

The dog scratched its ear.


who’s – abbreviated form of “who is”

Who’s that?

whose – possessive form of who/which

Whose book is this?


your – belongs to you

This is your car.

you’re – short for “you are”

You’re amazing.


know – to have knowledge

I know how to cook.

no – opposite of “yes”; expresses refusal

No, I’m not going.


weather – the meteorological conditions

I expect bad weather.

whether – indicates an alternative

I don’t know whether he will come or not.


right – correct; also opposite of left

I knew the right answer.

Turn right at the next corner.

write – to put something down in words; to spell

Write your name on the list.


buy – to purchase

I want to buy new shoes.                                                                         

by – preposition meaning close to, through; past

We drove by the house.                                                                            

bye – short for “goodbye”

I’ll see you next week, bye!


their – possessive form of “they”; belonging to them

That’s their house on the corner.

they’re – shortening of “they are”

I think they’re coming later.

there – refers to a certain location

Please sit over there.


to – preposition showing direction or attachment to something

Sara went to town.

two – a number

She bought two books.

too – also; excessively

Can I go, too?

I am too tired.