Rain, reign, dan rein

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Image caption A week of heavy rain has caused a massive devastation, berarti hujan.

This is BBC Learning English. Now, as you’ve probably worked out by now, the English language can be very confusing.

One sort of confusing words are homophones – that means two words which sound the same but have different meanings. Now, let’s join Finn and Cath, who are going to look at three confusing homophones.

Finn: Hello, I'm Finn and you're listening to Soundalikes from the BBC. Our language expert Cath is here today in the studio to help us with more Soundalikes – which will we be hearing today?

Cath: Today we’ve got three words which are all pronounced in exactly the same way – rain, reign, and rein.

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Finn: And more rain! Oh no, that sounds quite wet, doesn’t it? So, three words today. There’s the obvious one – rain. That’s the rain that falls and makes you wet. But can you spot the difference in the other two?

"Just a few weeks ago in September the Chinese government froze the price of fuel, and other consumer goods - to rein in the growth of inflation."

"But this time, a week of heavy rain has caused massive devastation."

"The reigning champions, Egypt, face a tough game against Cameroon while Nigeria start off the tournament against the Ivory Coast."

Finn: Ok – rein, rain, reign! But which is which? Well the second one was about heavy rain and I think most of us would get that, wouldn’t we?

Cath: Yes, that was our old friend rain spelled R A I N. Rain as in the weather.

Finn: Right, so we see plenty of that in the UK.

Cath: We do

Finn: Now how about the first one – we heard the word rein and we also heard about inflation growth.

Cath: Yes the Chinese government wanted to rein in the growth of inflation. And here rein is spelled R E I N.

Finn: OK, and this has nothing to do with the rain that makes you wet?

Cath: No, this word rein is the name we give to the strap of leather that a rider uses to control a horse. So when we 'rein in' something, we try to control it to prevent it becoming too great or too powerful.

Finn: Right, so here we're reining in inflation.

Cath: Yes, we’re controlling inflation. You could also rein in your excitement.

Finn: Ok – so I think that one’s clear now. But we did have one final reign. And this one mentioned the Egyptian football team.

Cath: Yes – he called them reigning champions – and this time reign is spelled differently once again R E I G N.

Finn: OK, so R E I G N – and what does this one mean?

Cath: To be the king or queen of a country is to reign over it. To rule over it. So here when he says reigning champions he means that they are the most recent winner of a competition.

Finn: Ok – so Egypt, in a sense, rule the competition until the next time it's held.

Cath: Yes.

Finn: Right so today we had wet rain, controlling rein, and the reign of a king or queen. Thank you Cath.

Cath: Thanks Finn.

So we heard Finn and Cath talking about the words rain, rein and reign. Let’s see if you can identify the different words when used in a sentence. So, the three meanings are: rain as in wet weather, rein as in to control and reign as in to rule.

Listen to these examples and say which meaning they are.

"Heavy rain in the region has caused widespread floods."

"British hip-hop star Estelle has gone straight to number one with her latest track, ending Duffy's five-week reign at the top of the UK singles chart."

"The health board plan to rein in spending in a bid to balance its books."

If you got them all right – well done!

Let’s recap the spellings of those three words. Rain – meaning wet weather is spelt R-A-I-N. Rein – meaning to control is spelt R-E-I-N. And reign meaning to rule is R-E-I-G-N.