Words That Sound Alike
Words that sound alike are called homophones. The spellings of these words are different, so they’re easily confused when writing. If you have any doubts as to which word you should actually use, consult a dictionary. Here’s a list of commonly confused homophones.
Accept (verb meaning to receive), Except (verb meaning all but)
Please accept this gift.
Do all the questions except number 5.
Affect (verb meaning to influence), Effect (verb meaning to accomplish; noun meaning result)
Pollution affects the weather.
Governments are trying to effect legislation to control pollution.
These new laws may not have any significant effect on pollution.
Advise (verb), Advice (noun)
Please advise your tutor of any upcoming tests or exams.
What advice do you have for young writers?
Conscious (adjective), Conscience (noun)
Morals are a product of a conscious behavior.
Before you make any significant decisions, it’s best to take a thorough look at your conscience.
Its (possessive pronoun), It's (contraction of it is)
The cat licked its paw.
It’s going to rain today.
Lead (noun; present tense verb), Led (past tense verb)
Bullets used to be made of lead.
We thought the clues would lead us to the treasure, but instead they led us to more false clues.
Than (used in comparisons), Then (showing time or order)
I like tea more than I like coffee.
First do the English paper, and then do the history.
Their (possessive pronoun), There (location, place), They're (contraction of they are)
Do you want to go to their house or stay at ours?
That’s a nice hotel: let’s go there for our vacation.
They’re finishing up the painting today.
To (preposition), Too (conjunctive adverb), Two (noun)
Give an instruction booklet to Andrew.
Give an instruction booklet to Greg, too.
You’ll need two instruction booklets.
We're (contraction of we are), Were (past tense verb)
We’re going to need more printer paper.
Sorry about that interruption; now, where were we?
Your (possessive pronoun), You're (contraction of you are)
Where is your sister?
You’re going to regret leaving that project until the last minute.
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