Homonyms are words that sound the same when pronounced, but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

Example: Loose and lose

Many people make this mistake. They inevitably interchange the words loose and lose while writing.

Lose means to suffer a loss or defeat.

Thus, you would write:

Correct: I don't want to lose you.

Wrong: I don't want to loose you.

Loose means NOT FIRM or NOT FITTING.

In this context, you would write,

Correct: My shirt is loose.

Wrong: My shirt is lose.

Here are many more homonyms which you have to know to write distinctively.

A lot :

Many, as in: A lot of people are doing business online today.

Much, as in: Some people worry a lot about their health.

Alot :

Wait a minute, there is no such word as alot! It should be two words: a lot, if you mean many or much, or allot, if you mean distribute.

Allot :

Give out or distribute, as in: We will allot the prizes by date of contest entry.

A while :

A period of time, as in: I haven't seen her in a while.

Awhile :

For a short time, as in: Let's stay awhile and talk.

Accede :

(1) Give in to, as in: We accede to your demands.

(2) take a position of authority, as in: When did the King accede to the throne?

Exceed :

To go past a stated amount, as in: It is illegal to exceed the speed limit.

Accent :

(1) Way of speaking characteristic of a particular region or group, as in I speak with a U. S. American accent.

(2) emphasize one part of something, as in: Accent your good points.

Ascent :

Upward movement, as in: We watched the ascent of the balloon as long as we could.

Assent :

To agree, as in: I doubt he will assent to the arrangement.

Accept :

To agree to take, as in: I accept the terms of your offer.

Except :

Excluding, as in: I knew all the answers on the test, except the last one.

Access :

Permission to go in or to approach, as in: No one has access to my private files but me.

Accessible :

Capable of being approached, as in: The back door is accessible from this path.

Assess :

Evaluate, as in: When the flood waters go down, we can assess the damage.

Assessable :

Capable of being evaluated, as in: After the zoning law is changed our property will be assessable.

Excess :

More than enough, as in: We gave our excess fruit to our neighbors.

Ad :

Short for advertisement, as in: I placed an ad in the paper.

Add :

To join or to combine, as in: Please add my site to your bookmark list.

Adapt :

To change to fit, as in: Newcomers quickly adapt to the culture of the Internet.

Adept :

Expert, as in: She was adept at using graphics to illustrate complex ideas.

Adopt :

To take as one's own, as in: Would it be better to make our own rules, or adopt theirs?

Addenda :

Something added, as in: That problem is covered in the addenda to the software manual.

Agenda :

List of things to do, as in: What is the agenda for the meeting tomorrow?

Addition :

Something added, as in: We toured the addition to the hospital yesterday.

Edition :

Published version, as in: Read the latest edition of the Tax Tips and Tactics newsletter.

Adherence :

Firm attachment, as in: She demonstrates a strict adherence to the rules.

Adherents :

Advocates or supporters, as in: Many people in that country are adherents of the concept of free speech.

Adverse :

Hostile, as in: The adverse weather conditions forced them to turn back.

Averse :

Reluctant, as in: I am not averse to hearing your suggestions.

Advice :

Guidance or counsel, as in: Your sound advice saved me from a terrible mistake.

Advise :

To counsel, recommend, or inform, as in: I advise you to validate the code on your Web page before you release it to the general public.

Affect :

To act upon or influence, as in: Strong emotions can affect your health.

Effect :

(1, a noun) immediate or direct result, as in: What effect does that medicine have on you?

(2, a verb) accomplish, as in: He braided the bedsheets to effect an escape.

Aggravate :

To make worse, as in: Lying to cover up a crime will aggravate the offense.

Aggregate :

To collect together or total, as in: Charges for a corporate Web site can aggregate into tens of thousands of dollars.

Aid :

Help, as in: He rushed to the aid of the victim with no thought for his own safety.

Aide :

Assistant or helper, as in: The Governor's aide will hold a press conference this afternoon.

Ail :

To cause trouble or discomfort to, as in: What ails you?

Ale :

An alcoholic beverage, stronger than beer, as in: My friend and I will have two pints of ale, bartender.

Allot :

Give out or distribute, as in: We will allot the prizes by date of contest entry.

Alot :

Wait a minute, there is no such word as alot!

A lot :

Many, as in: A lot of people are doing business online today.

Much, as in: Some people worry a lot about their health.

Allowed :

Permitted, as in: No one under 17 is allowed.

Aloud :

Audibly, as in: He read the book aloud.

Allusion :

Indirect or casual mention, as in: No one made any allusion to the scandal while she was in the room.

Illusion :

Presentation of a false or misleading idea, as in: The magician gave the illusion of sawing the woman in half.

Delusion :

Mistaken belief while in a confused state of mind, as in: He was under the delusion that he could fly.

Elusion :

Evasion or clever escape, as in: The embezzlers celebrated their elusion of the police a little too soon.

Altar :

Worship table, as in: The priest approached the altar.

Alter :

Change, as in: Nothing you can say will alter my plans.

Alternate :

Occuring by turns or every other, as in: She works on alternate weekends.

Alternative :

Providing or expressing a choice, as in: An alternative to designing your own Web site is hiring a professional.

Amend :

Modify or revise, as in: It's time to amend our by-laws.

Emend :

Alter or correct in the text of a written work, as in: The publishers hurried to emend the book before the next edition.

Among :

In the midst of three or more, as in: The four older children decided among themselves to surprise Mother and Father with breakfast in bed.

Between :

In the midst of two, as in: The two younger ones decided between themselves to clean the kitchen.

Ante- :

Prefix meaning before, as in: The abbreviation A.M. stands for ante meridiem, meaning before noon.

Anti- :

Prefix meaning against, as in: The anti-American protesters marched in the capital city.

Antecedence :

Act of going before in time, as in: The antecedence of parents to their own children is a fact of life.

Antecedents :

Individuals who have gone before, as in: His antecedents left him a fortune, but he wasted most of it.

Any one :

Whichever unit, as in: You can have any one of these prizes.

Anyone :

Any person whatever, as in: Anyone having information about the whereabouts of the suspect, please come forward.

Any way :

By a choice of methods, as in: I will succeed any way I can.

Anyway :

In any case or nevertheless, as in: I didn't like her anyway.

Apportion :

Divide up and distribute by shares, as in: I want to apportion the money among all the children.

Portion :

A limited amount of something, as in: He didn't eat his portion of dessert.

Proportion :

Ratio of one thing to another, as in: The proportion of women to men using the Internet is increasing.

Appraise :

Judge the value of, as in: A professional takes many factors into account in order to appraise your house correctly.

Apprise :

To inform or notify, as in: Please apprise me of any sudden turn of events.

Arc :

A curved line, as in: A rainbow is an arc.

Ark :

A large, flat-bottomed boat, as in: They loaded the grain on the ark and floated it down the river.

Are :

Form of to be, as in: What are you doing tonight?

Hour :

Sixty minutes, as in: It seemed like I waited an hour, but it was only twenty minutes.

Our :

Belonging to us, as in: Please visit our Web site and see our new book reviews.

Area :

Region, as in: What area of the country are you from?

Aria :

An elaborate song for one voice, as in: When the soprano finished the aria, the audience clapped.

Arrears :

Unpaid debts, as in: We cannot extend you any credit because your account is already in arrears.

Arraign :

Call into court, as in: The suspect will be arraigned next week.

Arrange :

Put into order, as in: It is very important how you arrange the information on your Web site.

Assay :

Chemical analysis, as in: The assay office will test your ore to see how much gold it contains.

Essay :

A short composition expressing the author's opinions, as in: Students applying for a scholarship often have to write an essay.

Assistance :

Help, as in: Any assistance you can give me will be welcome.

Assistants :

Helpers, as in: The teacher's two assistants handed out the tests.

Assure :

Declare positively, as in: I assure you that I will be finished by next Tuesday.

Ensure :

Make sure, as in: Order today to ensure delivery by Monday.

Insure :

Cover by insurance, as in: This Company will insure the data on my hard disk as well as the computer itself.

At present :

Right now, as in: I am designing small-business Web sites at present.

Presently :

in a little while or shortly, as in: Mr. Gates will be down to see you presently.

Ate :

Past tense of eat, as in: We ate in that new restaurant last week.

Eight :

The number after seven, as in: Breakfast will be at eight in the morning.

Attendance :

Being present, as in: Part of your grade is based on attendance.

Attendants :

Workers, as in: The flight attendants will be serving dinner now.

Autobiography :

One’s own life story, as in: I am writing my autobiography.

Bibliography :

List of books about a subject, as in: Please include a bibliography with your research report.

Biography :

A person's life story, as in: She is writing a biography of Marie Sklodowska Curie, the chemist and physicist who with her husband discovered radium in 1898.

Articles Index

From Homonyms to HOME PAGE