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Having learnt about many words that are grouped under Homonyms, we can realise that the variations in their meaning as well as their uses need to be grasped and established.

It is deemed necessary because in English, words with meaning or pronunciation being similar can be quite muddling. Some mean the same but are spelt differently when used in a separate context.

Some words may neither have similar pronunciation nor have same spelling; they can still be confusing. This is because they may have a common prefix or suffix.

Examples include 'emission' and 'omission'. One is liable to be in wonder as to which one means the release of something like gas (emission) and which one refers to the missing out of something (omission).

Below is a list of words which often get us muddled up. The list includes short explanation and examples of their usage to help distinguish between them.

Adapter an electrical adaptor (device) supplying power

Adaptor an electrical adaptor (device) supplying power

Advice gave the children some pieces of advice

Advise need to advise them on the right step to take

Altar pray at the altar (holy place)

Alter to alter (change) something

Amend to amend (improve) the law

Emend to emend (correct) the text before printing

Astronomy the scientific study of the celestial bodies;

Astrology the study of how the position of the celestial bodies affect people

on earth; believers in astrology read horoscopes.

Aural an aural (hearing) impairment; an aural (listening) comprehension


Oral both oral (verbal) and written language exams; oral hygiene (health

in the mouth)

Bail the accused was granted bail (guarantee); bail out (release)

Bale a bale (measure) of cotton; bale out (remove) water

Bare bare (uncovered) feet; bare (exposed) floor; bare (simple) facts

Bear bear (keep) in mind; bear (bring forth) children; bear (hold) a grudge

Base at the base (bottom) of the pillar; base the argument on facts

Bass sing bass (male voice); fishermen catching bass(fish)

Beach building castles on the beach (seaside)

Beech beech (plant) and oak trees

Beer a pint of beer

bier a funeral bier (corpse stand)

Bonny a bonny (pretty) little girl with beautiful hair

Bony the man’s bony (skeletal) knees

Breach a breach (disruption) of the peace; breach the enemy’s defences

Breech the breech (back barrel) of a gun; a breech (with the back) delivery of a


Break break an arm

Brake failure of the car’s brakes; had to brake (stop) suddenly on seeing the dog

Some words beginning with the letters C and D are shown in the video below.

Eerie in the eerie (dreadful) atmosphere of a thick mist

Eyrie the eagles eyrie (nest)

Elicit elicit (fetch) information

Illicit an illicit (unlawful) love affair

Eligible eligible (qualified) for promotion; an eligible (desirable) bachelor

Legible legible ( clear) handwriting

Elude elude (escape) capture by the police

Allude allude (hint) to facts which he had concealed

Emigrant emigrants (out-goers) weeping over their native land.

Immigrant illegal immigrants (incomers) are worried

Enormity the enormity (atrocity) of the crime

Enormousness the enormousness (immenseness) of the festival

Envelop she wanted to envelop (embrace) the child in her arms; mist began to envelop (surround) the mountains

Envelope a brown envelope

Erotic erotic (lustful) picture of ladies

Erratic an erratic (inconsistent) driver; impulsive erratic behaviour

Exceedingly exceedingly (extremely) beautiful

Excessively excessively (unreasonably) fond of alcohol

Exhausting an exhausting (tiring) climb

Exhaustive an exhaustive (detailed) search

Fair a fair (impartial) result; fair (blonde) hair; sideshows at a fair (event)

Fare bus fare (prices); how did you fare (do) in the exam

Fearful fearful of being left behind; what a fearful (awful) smell

Fearsome see a fearsome (frightening)

Flair have a flair (ability) for languages

Flare send up a flare (light) as a signal for help; make the fire flare (flame) up; a skirt with a slight flare (spreading shape)

Flammable clothes made of flammable (burnable) material

Inflammable highly inflammable (hazardous) substance such as petrol

Floe an ice floe (iceberg)

Flow the flow of water

Forbade she forbade (rejected)

Forbidden she was forbidden (prevented) to leave

Formally formally (officially) dressed

Formerly he had formerly (previously) been in the in the army

Foul commit a foul (violation) on the football pitch; foul (rotten) smell

Fowl a chicken is a type of fowl (bird)

Found they found the missing child

Founded their Grandad founded (established) the firm

The next video shows some confusing words beginning with the letters H and I.

Imaginary choose an imaginary (made up) friend

Imaginative an imaginative (creative) story; an imaginative (strange) person

Inapt an inapt (inappropriate) remark

Inept an inept (ineffective) attempt

Ingenious an ingenious (intelligent) act

Ingenuous an ingenuous (innocent) young person

Judicial a judicial (legal) enquiry into the accident

Judicious a judicious (sensible) choice of words

Keep visiting the site since more words will be following soon. You can also explore more WEBSTER'S REFERENCE LIBRARY.

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