English language has many homonyms and homophones. In order to know what is the meaning of those kinds of words, it is necessary to have a little context. First of all, let’s define what homonyms and homophones are.
- Homonyms: words that are spelled and pronounced in the same way but have different meaning.
Examples: bow (weapon), bow (ribbon); left (direction), left (past tense verb); rock (material), rock (music).
- Homophones: words that are pronounced the same but they have different meaning.
Examples: raise, rays; plane, plain; carat, carrot; read (past tense), red.
Both types of words have allowed the creation of word games. Here are some examples:
Thomas left to the left. (Thomas went to the opposite direction of right)
The dogs bark at the bark. (The dogs produce the alarming noise to the part of the tree)
The following sentence represents the use of homonyms and homophones in a very clear way:
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. (The buffalo from Buffalo that bother other buffalo from Buffalo bother buffalo from Buffalo)
There are also words combinations that sound the same and can only be understood by context or reading.
A dressed male <==> Addressed mail
Ice cream <==> I scream
Real eyes <==> Real lies