What are Homophones?

7th May 2021

Have you ever visited the BBC bitesize website? If not before lockdown, you probably have since? It’s a great resource whilst teaching children at home.

Have a look at the link below for an easy description of a homophone.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zqhpk2p/articles/zc84cwx

The origin of the word, as it often does, helps with its definition.

From Greek word ‘homos‘ which means  “same” + ‘phone‘ = “sound”

But remember they may have the same sound but mean totally different things, the confusing English Language strikes again.

Local dialect can also change what is a homophone and what is not. For example, Whether/whither are homophones in Scotland, but not whether/weather, which are homophones in England.

List of common Homophones

airheir
aisleisle
ante-anti-
eyeI
barebear
bebee
brakebreak
buyby
cellsell
centscent
cerealserial
coarsecourse
complementcompliment
damdamn
deardeer
diedye
fairfare
firfur
flourflower
forfour
hairhare
healheel
hearhere
himhymn
holewhole
hourour
idleidol
ininn
knightnight
knotnot
knowno
The English Club website

Do you ever have any difficulty with any of the above? What strategies do you use to remember the correct spelling?

The Moffattgirls

There are different, fun ways to practice Homophones, you only need to google them or look on ‘pinterest’ to find lots of suggestions. Some may work for you, some may not. We are all individual and it’s best to see what suits you.

Maybe flashcards with pictures of the meaning or a game of Homophone bingo where you say the sentence and child looks to see if that spelling is on their card?

It may be key words that always confuse. Such as ‘their’, ‘there’ and ‘they’re’ ? Maybe a picture prompt near you would help? Think about their meanings;

‘TheIr’ – When discussing it highlight the ‘I‘. When you talk about ‘I‘ you think of you/ a person. Their refers to ‘belongings of a person’ – “They put on their coats”.

‘There’ – Is a place. When discussing it physically point over to ‘there‘, ask the child to walk over to ‘there’. Say “Put you drink over there“.

‘They’re’ – Is an abbreviation for ‘they’ ‘are’. Discuss the possibilities of what ‘they’ could be doing? Make it fun and personal for the child which can help memory recall. What can they picture them doing? Who are they? Make up a story of who, what, where, when and why.

  • “They are my friends in school”,
  • “They are running a race in sports day”,
  • “They are on the school field/track”,
  • “On a sunny day”
  • “They like running, its fun”

The 5 W’s are a great way to engage a child in a story, but that’s for another post on another day.

Once they are invested in the story get them to draw a picture, together with the word and use as a picture prompt whilst writing.

Their and there differentiation

If you have any ideas that have worked for you or a child you work with then please let me know. It may help someone else too.

Be back next week, hopefully the weather/whether will be better.

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