Homophones

Homophones are words that sound identical but have different spellings and meanings. Finding ways to remember which one to use is helpful, as getting these wrong can really confuse a reader.

Here are some common examples accompanied by sentences. Write your own sentences to practise using the correct spelling.

  • witch/which
    • Which witch is which?
  • too/two/to
    • She had two owls.
    • He is going to work.
    • I like you too.
  • sight/site
    • The sight of the new site for the school made her smile.
  • through/threw
    • He threw the ball through the window.
  • whether, weather
    • Whether or not we go surfing tomorrow, depends on the weather.
  • they’re/their/there
    • Their house is over there.
    • They’re leaving tomorrow.
  • break/brake
    • She had to break the biscuit and share it.
    • He pulled the brake hard to stop the car.
  • right/write
    • You have the right to write whatever you want.
  • waist/waste
    • He tied the belt around his waist.
    • The waste went in the bin.
  • where/wear/were
    • Where will you wear that t-shirt?
    • Were you at school today?
  • coarse/course
    • The course was difficult.
    • The cloth was coarse and uncomfortable.
  • its/it’s
    • It’s Saturday.
    • The dog scratched its ear.
  • stare/stair
    • She gave her sister a mean stare.
    • She sat on the bottom stair.
  • weak/week
    • That week she felt quite weak.
  • so/sew/sow
    • The gardener had to sow more seeds that day.
    • She was thirsty so she drank some water.
    • He learned to sew a hem.
  • by/bye/buy
    • She decided to buy a new phone.
    • The phone was by the cup.
    • As she left, she turned to say, ‘Bye.’
  • tail/tale
    • His favourite tale was about the tail of a donkey.
  • bored/board
    • Everyone was bored by the writing on the board.
  • piece/peace
    • A sense of peace came over the room.
    • There was only one piece of cake left.
  • serial/cereal
    • She ate cereal for breakfast and watched her favourite serial on the television.
  • aloud/allowed
    • No one was allowed to speak aloud.
  • flour/flower
    • The flour was ground by stone.
    • The flower smelled sweet.
  • sent/scent/cent
    • She sent them away with no more than a cent.
    • The scent was strong.
  • in/inn
    • They stayed at the inn.
    • He was in love.

It is useful to think of ways to remember the correct homophone for your sentence. You might like to use pictures or, as with your spellings, you could make up a rhyme or mnemonic to help you.

For example:

To/too/two

To – remember just the one 'o' to get from one place to another.

Too – means 'as well as'. Remember the spelling by thinking that it has ‘toooooooooooo’ many ‘o’s.

Two – remember this by thinking of the ‘w’ (double u) meaning ‘2’.

Aloud/allowed

Remember that if you’re speaking something aloud, it will be ‘loud

Things to remember

  • Invent your own mnemonics.
  • Hear with your ear.
  • Take care with homophones.
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