What Are Homophones, Homographs And Homonyms?


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Will Martin answered
These are all derived from the Greek word for "same." They mean respectively, "same sound," same spelling" and "same name."
In homophones, two words have the same sound but different spellings and meanings. Some common examples are see/sea, wear/where and too/two. They are often the basis of puns and wordplay. Also, computer spell-checkers often fail to notice them; there is an anonymous poem based on this, beginning "Eye have a spelling chequer; it came with my pea sea."
Homographs have the same spelling, but different sounds and meanings. They include words like minute, where "MINute" is a unit of time and "minUTE" means very small, or refuse, where "refUSE" means say no, but "REFuse" means rubbish. Confusion can arise with notices like "Refuse to be put in this basket."
Homonyms have the same sound and spelling but different meanings. Examples include bank (river and money) or bar (barrier and drinking counter.)

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