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Homonyms, Homophones and Homographs

homonyms homophones and homographs lessons homonyms homophones and homographs enrichment strategies homonyms homophones and homographs word lists homonyms homophones and homographs games

VocabularySpellingCity's spelling lists will help students learn homonyms, homophones (sound-alike words), and homographs and have fun all at the same time! Resources include printable worksheets, videos, online games, and various teaching strategies for Kindergarten through High School. Here you can customize a unique lesson to illustrate homonyms vs homophones vs homographs.

Homonyms, homophones and homographs can bring confusion to even adults and teachers! VocabularySpellingCity can help anyone master these word groups. For clarity, we've brought them all together on one page. It makes it easier to learn the difference among the three types of words using the definitions and homonyms, homophones and homographs examples below.

Homonyms Homophones Homographs
Multiple meaning words Words that sound alike Same spelling,
different pronunciation,
different meanings
 the spruce tree...
 to spruce up...
 addition for math
 edition of a book
 desert = abandon
 desert = area of land
 suit yourself...
 wore a suit...
 I want to go
 I like it too
 One plus one is two
 bass = fish
 bass = instrument
 weigh on the scale...
 scale the wall...
 capitol building
 state capital
 close = nearby
 close = to shut
 the price is fair...
 go to the fair...
 pick a flower
 bake with flour
 bow = to bend down
 bow = ribbon


Homonyms, or multiple meaning words, are words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings. For example, bear.

  • A bear (the animal) can bear (tolerate) very cold temperatures.

  • The driver turned left (opposite of right) and left (departed from) the main road.

Homophones, also known as sound-alike words, are words that are pronounced identically although they have different meanings and often have different spellings as well. These words are a very common source of confusion when writing. Common examples of sets of homophones include: to, too, and two; they're and their; bee and be; sun and son; which and witch; and plain and plane. VocabularySpellingCity is a particularly useful tool for learning to correctly use and spell the soundalike words.


Homographs are words that are spelled the same, but have different meanings and are often pronounced differently as well. 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.

Currently, VocabularySpellingCity cannot distinguish between homographs, as we are unable to have two pronounciations for the exact same word. We are looking for possibilities in the future.

Heteronyms or Heterophones

Same Spelling, Different Pronunciations, Different Meanings. All heteronyms are homographs, but not all homographs are heteronyms. See why this concept can be so confusing to learn?

  • Wind: I need to wind the alarm clock so I can fly my kite in the early morning gusty wind.

  • Record: Please record the program when they try to beat the world record for word nerdiness.

  • Excuse: 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.

  • Turkey: I like to visit the country of Turkey and eat that American bird, turkey.

  • Mobile: My mobile phone ironically did not work in Mobile, Alabama.

  • May: In May, when spring is almost over, I may pack away my winter clothes.

  • March: On the Ides of March, we will march in the parade.

  • Polish: The Polish refugee said nothing but went straight to work putting polish on the silver.

Click to view Homophones at a glance

The complete standards correlation for this activity is coming soon!

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