English is often said to be a confusing language – and when it comes to homophones, we know how that notion came to be!

Homophones, similar-sounding but differently spelled words, are limitless as they are puzzling. As it is, English has words that are spelled in a way, and pronounced differently! For example, the envelope is pronounced as ‘AHN Vuh lope’. In addition to this, we have to keep ourselves updated with homophones.

Do not let the thought of learning homophones unnerve you. They are a fun and valuable addition to your vocabulary. Here is a set of few homophones:

• Write – Right: This is the most common one. They sound exactly the same, but their meanings are poles apart. Write is a verb, indicating the act of writing. While the right has two different meanings, depending on its usage. Right is a name for a direction, ex. “The blue-colored building on the right is where I live”. Right can also be used to mean ‘correct’.

• Where – Were: This is a common mistake people make while writing. The difference between these two words is just one alphabet – H, but these words are strictly not interchangeable. Where is an interrogative word, like when you want to question “Where is my book?” While, Were denotes the state of the object it describes, “Were you in the office last night?”

• Rap – Wrap: When a person strikes a surface repeatedly with hard blows, that action is called rap. Like knocking or tapping continuously. The wrap is to cover or enclose something in a cover. Covering a gift with gift paper is called wrapping the gift.

• Carrot – Carat: The former is a vegetable, while the latter is a unit of weight for precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, or precious stones like diamonds, ruby, etc.

• Steel – Steal: When someone is saying either of these words, it is not possible to know which one they are referring, unless you understand the context in which it is used. Steel is an alloy of iron and other elements, while Steal is an action for robbery or theft. Like two robbers making a plan, “Let’s steal that fancy car.”

• Principle – Principal: This is probably the most common mistake people make while writing. These two homophones are as different in meaning as chalk and cheese! Principle(s) refers to one’s values, traditions, beliefs, etc. For example, “I cannot steal, it is against my principles.” The principal means the ‘first in order, or when used in reference to a person, it means the one with the highest authority. The principal is usually used for referring to the highest post in an educational institution, as the principal of the college or school.

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