Do you want to learn more about homographs? You've come to the right place. This article will teach you what they are and how to use them in your writing.
This article is part of our free online Grammar Book.
The word 'homograph' comes from the Greek homographos meaning "of the same letters." As the name indicates, homographs are two or more words with the same spelling. Their pronunciation, however, is different, and so is their meaning. In other words, they look the same but aren't the same, like twins.
Homographs are a type of homonym. The other type is homophones, which sound the same. We'll talk a little more about those later; for now, let's take a look at some homograph examples.
Since these words have identical spellings, you must rely on context to deduct their intended meaning. That's why, when you use them in your writing, you'll want to ensure the context is clear so your reader knows what you mean.
I'm going to show you some examples of homographs in a sentence. I'll be using two (or more, when possible) in the same sentence to show you that if the context is clear, it's not hard to understand which meaning I intended the word to have.
I wrote Miss Besser a letter to tell her I miss her.
Do you think these dates are out of date?
Can I get a can of coke, please?
The rose became more and more vibrant in color as it rose towards the sky.
Well, he fell in a well but don't worry: he is well.
As I mentioned earlier, there is another type of homonym, and that is homophones. These words are spelled differently, but they sound the same and have different meanings. The 'phone' in 'homophone' comes from Greek and means 'sound,' so that explains it.
Here are some examples of homophones:
There's also a third type of homonym, but these are more rare than the other two types. It's when two or more words sound the same and are spelled the same but have different meanings. There isn't a specific name for these, so they're usually just referred to under the umbrella term of 'homonym.'
That concludes this article on homographs. I hope you found it helpful and that you feel confident about using them in your own writing. Let's summarize what we've learned:
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