Three Unlikely Helpers

figures of speech

by Glenn G. Dahlem, Ph.D.
Many EFL teachers shudder when any of the three ominous figures of speech appear unannounced during class. These are the related language curiosities homophones, homonyms and homographs.

  •  Homophones are two or more words pronounced the same but are spelled differently, and have different meanings.

Normally they come in pairs, like plane and plain, but can occur as trios (you, ewe, yew), and quadruplets, i.e. air, err, heir, ere.

  • Homonyms are two or more words spelled AND pronounced the same, but with different meanings--for example, saw, a . . .

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