Homophones: the Most Confusing Words in English (a List with Meanings and Examples)

Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings.


What are Homophones?

A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same (to varying extent) as another word but differs in meaning. A homophone may also differ in spelling. The two words may be spelled the same, such as rose (flower) and rose (past tense of "rise"), or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to, two, and too

The term "homophone" may also apply to units longer or shorter than words, such as phrases, letters, or groups of letters which are pronounced the same as another phrase, letter, or group of letters.

Homophones that are spelled the same are also both homographs and homonyms.

Homophones that are spelled differently are also called heterographs. A word or unit with this property is said to be "homophonous".

List of 50+ Most Commonly Confused Homophones in English

1. Ad - Add

  • We put an ad in the local paper.
  • Do you want to add your name to the list?

2. Allowed - Aloud

  • Passengers are allowed one item of hand luggage each.
  • The pain made him cry aloud.

3. Ate - Eight

  • We ate at a pizzeria in town.
  • My parents died when I was eight.

4. Bare - Bear

  • She felt the warm sun on her bare arms.
  • She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to bear the pain.

5. Blew - Blue

  • They failed to put clear blue water between themselves and their competitors.
  • She blew onto her coffee to cool it down.

6. Bored - Board

  • After a while, I got bored and left.
  • The plan of the new building is displayed on a board at the back of the room.

7. Break - Brake

  • I had to break a window to get into the house.
  • The traffic lights turned green and I released the brake.

8. Buy - Buy - Bye

  • The money will be used to buy equipment for the school.
  • We are all alarmed by the rise in violent crime.
  • Bye, Dave.

9. Cellar - Seller

  • I went down into the cellar for more wine.
  • The law is intended to protect both the buyer and the seller.

10. Cereal - Serial

  • Eaten with milk or cream, they made an acceptable breakfast cereal.
  • Their letters of planning went back and forth like installments of a serial.

11. Coarse - Course

  • The coarse sand was hot and rough under her feet.
  • Andy’s doing a one-year journalism course.

12. Deer - Dear

  • A deer makes tracks in the snow.
  • Congratulations to you my dear brother on all your fine accomplishments in school.

13. Doe - Dough

  • Ezra waited for the doe to open its eyes and look at him.
  • Mix lemon juice and milk; stir into flour mixture until dough leaves side of bowl and forms a ball.

14. Draft - Draught

  • This is only the first draft of my speech.
  • A cold draught of air blew in from the open window.

15. Farther - Father

  • We decided not to go any farther.
  • Andrew was very excited about becoming a father.

16. Fir - Fur

  • You always clear away the soft topsoil till you get a fir base.
  • There was cat fur all over the chair.

17. Flea - Flee

  • A water flea that is starving in a crowded pond is the victim not of food shortage but of competition.
  • He gathered what money he had just in case Gallagher was forced to flee.

18. Flour - Flower

  • They said the protesters let off stink bombs and covered four players with eggs and flour.
  • She bent down and picked a flower.

19. For - Four

  • We got a new table for the dining room.
  • Don't let this go further than these four walls.

20. Foreword - Forward

  • He was asked if he would consider writing a foreword for her book.
  • They ran forward to welcome her.

21. Fort - Fought

  • Just the three of you going to be holding the fort tonight.
  • He fought many battles with the early Labor party in Lancaster and discrimination against socialist employees was alleged.

22. Foul - Fowl

  • He woke up with a foul taste in his mouth.
  • Fish, fowl and meat, most with a decidedly Southwestern treatment, are represented on the menu.

23. Genes - Jeans

  • The actual number of human genes is still in dispute.
  • Her hair looked dishevelled, as did the sweatshirt and jeans she was wearing.

24. Hear - Here

  • I could hear the sound of traffic.
  • This switch here controls the lights.

25. Hole - Whole

  • The bomb blew a huge hole in the ground.
  • She wasn't telling the whole truth.

26. Hour - Our

  • The interview lasted half an hour.
  • We showed them some of our photos.

27. Knead - Need

  • On a lightly floured board, knead the dough for a couple of minutes.
  • You don’t really need a car.

28. Knot - Not

  • Tie the two ropes together with a knot.
  • She did not see him.

29. Know - No

  • I know people’s handwriting changes as they get older.
  • “It was Tony.”   -  “‘No, you're wrong. It was Ted.”

30. Knigh - Night

  • She’s still waiting for a knight in shining armor to come and rescue her.
  • The accident happened on Friday night.

31. Leak - Leek

  • Water had started to leak into the cellar.
  • For a first course, there is a potato leek soup.

32. Made - Maid

  • The sky was clear and the sunlight had a brilliance and intensity that made her head reel.
  • A maid pushed her cleaning cart down the path toward the cottages out back.

33. None - Nun

  • I wish I could offer you some cake but there’s none left.
  • Georgiana later marries, and Eliza becomes a nun.

34. One - Won

  • There's only room for one person.
  • Britain won five gold medals. 

35. Pail - Pale

  • They filled their pail and container, and started the return journey.
  • He looked very pale and drawn.

36. Peace - Piece

  • I wish she would just leave me in peace.
  • He broke off a piece of bread and gave it her.

37. Peak - Peek

  • Sales this month have reached a new peak.
  • Shut your eyes and don’t peek!

38. Plain - Plane

  • The advantages were plain to see.
  • She slept on the plane.

39. Role - Roll

  • They want to limit the role of government.
  • I tried to roll him onto his side.

40. Sail - Sale

  • She always wanted to sail around the world.
  • The use and sale of marijuana remains illegal.


41. Scene - Seen

  • The police soon arrived at the scene of the crime.
  • He crouched down so he couldn’t be seen.

42. See - Sea

  • She looked for him but couldn't see him in the crowd.
  • The waste was dumped in the sea.

43. Sole - Soul

  • Griffiths is the sole survivor of the crash.
  • He is really quite a sensitive soul.

44. Son - Sun

  • We have two daughters and a son.
  • The sun was shining and birds were singing.

45. Stair - Stare

  • The second stair creaks when you step on it.
  • It's not polite to stare, you know.

46. Tail - Tale

  • The male has beautiful tail feathers.
  • His latest book is a delightful children’s tale about talking animals.

47. Their - There

  • They washed their faces and went to bed.
  • We could go back to my cottage and have lunch there.

48. To - Too - Two

  • I walked to the office.
  • The dress was too tight for me.
  • I was in two minds about the book.

49. Weak - Week

  • She is still weak after her illness.
  • He comes to see us once a week.

50. Wear - Where

  • I always wear black.   
  • I wonder where they will take us to.

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Homophones: the Most Confusing Words in English (a List with Meanings and Examples)

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