Homographs, Heteronyms & Homophones

Homographs are words that are spelled the same, but have more than one meanings (e.g., bat – the animal – and bat – used for hitting).

If the word is also pronounced differently, it is a heteronym. Often heteronyms are the result of one pronunciation being one part of speech and the other another part of speech (e.g., a noun –dove the bird- and a verb –dove as in the past tense of dive).

Homophones are words which are pronounced the same, but spelled differently and have different meanings (e.g., maid and made).

Activities in which students are actively engaged in using homographs, heteronyms and homophones are useful to increase their vocabulary and to assist with minimising spelling confusions.

Activity 1

Give students a list of words and ask them to find a homophone and then to use both words in the same sentence.

made maid I made the maid make my bed.

You can use the same strategy for heteronyms and homographs.

Activity 2

Provide students with a list of heteronyms and have them write a poem or a story using heteronyms. You can use the same strategy for homographs and homophones.


Activity 3

Write a story containing homophones and have students select the correct word.

https://iditarod.com/zuma/olivias-story-homophones/ http://blog.vocabnetwork.com/2012/10/12/language-matters-homophone-humor/

Activity 4

Many jokes and cartoons are based on homophones, homographs or heteronyms. Discuss these types of jokes and then have students create their own jokes or cartoons.


List of heteronyms

List of homophones

List of homographs

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