Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

But understanding them can help push your English to the next level.

Today we chat with Tim Torkildson, an ESL blogger who was fired from his job for blogging about homophones!

A homophone is a word that has the same pronunciation as another word, but a different spelling and meaning.

Though not all languages have homophones, English has a lot of them.


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Homophones can be confusing for non-native English speakers because they might follow two different rules of spelling.

The reason for these differences is that English comes from many distinct languages, including French, Latin and old Celtic and Germanic languages.

When Tim was writing an ESL blog entry on homophones for a school he worked for, the school decided the word homophone was too controversial because of its similarity to homophobe (fear of gay people), or homosexual (a person who is gay).

The words do not mean the same thing (only the root word homo-, which means “same”), but the word was viewed as controversial and Tim was fired.

Here are some examples of common English homophones:

  • Ant; Aunt
  • See; Sea
  • Pause; Paws
  • Air; Err; Heir
  • Wrapped; Rapt; Rapped

Have you encountered other examples of homophones while studying English?

Share with us in the comments section below!


Tim TTim Torkildson was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He first went to Thailand in 1974 as a missionary, and returned there again in 2004 as an English teacher for 5 years.  You can find out more about him here:

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