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Fun Easy English Classroom March 20


Learn about
English homonyms

Today in the Fun Easy English classroom you will learn about homonyms.
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Video: Homonyms
Video Script: Homonyms

Hi. In the classroom today you will learn about homonyms.

Homonyms are two or more words that have the same sound and often the same spelling but differ in meaning.

For example the word BANK can be an embankment or a BANK, a place where money is kept.

Another example would be FLOWER and FLOUR.

Other examples would be RED and READ, or LED and LEAD.

Still another example would be REED and READ.

Knowing the differences between these words is extremely important and will be good for your English pronunciation and writing.

Until next time.
Note: A homonym is actually one of a group of words with the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings. The term "homonym" is often used to refer to words that are either homographs or homophones which is the case in this lesson.
  • Homographs (literally "same writing") are usually defined as words with the same spelling, regardless of how they are pronounced.
  • Homophones (literally "same sound") are usually defined as words with the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.
From YOUR Teacher: Homonyms

Studying homonyms, homographs, and homophones is actually really good pronunciation practice. Very often English language students pronounce words incorrectly because the spelling of a particular word is the same as another. For example in the following sentences the word read is pronounced differently.

She is planning to read the entire book today. (read is pronounced as reed)
She read the entire book yesterday. (read is pronounced as red)

In this example read is a homograph. You can see why studying homonyms, homographs, and homophones is very important.
Test: Homonyms

This is a test of your understanding of homonyms. For each question decide which is the correct word to fill in the blank. There are 50 questions. Good luck.
1.  A ________ is a type of tall, slender grass.

     a.  read
     b.  reed
2.  After lunch, she noticed the ________ in her pants.

     a.  hole
     b.  whole
3.  I think you ________ to get a new pair of shoes.

     a.  need
     b.  knead
4.  He was much ________ after taking first place in the competition.

     a.  bolder
     b.  boulder
5.  A computer usually has a model number and a ________ number.

     a.  cereal
     b.  serial
6.  I ate a ________ for lunch.

     a.  pair
     b.  pear
7.  It is common to ________ when meeting for the first time in Japan.

     a.  bough
     b.  bow
8.  The king talked to his favorite ________ almost every day.

     a.  knight
     b.  night
9.  A ________ is the basic unit of storage capacity in a computer system.

     a.  bite
     b.  byte
10.  It is ________ hot today.

     a.  sew
     b.  so
11.  I had to ________ 16 potatoes for the party.

     a.  peal
     b.  peel
12.  The ________ is located on the belly.

     a.  naval
     b.  navel
13.  Many people go to the ________ during the summer.

     a.  sea
     b.  see
14.  I often call my friend my ________.

     a.  pal
     b.  pail
15.  Maybe you ________ too much food last night.

     a.  ate
     b.  eight
16.  The ________ trees are really beautiful during the summer.

     a.  beach
     b.  beech
17.  I usually eat ________ with butter for breakfast.

     a.  bread
     b.  bred
18.  Please read the story ________ to the class.

     a.  aloud
     b.  allowed
19.  Recently, a ________ ring has become very fashionable.

     a.  toe
     b.  tow
20.  She ________ the group through the mountains.

     a.  lead
     b.  led
21.  The mountain ________ is about an hour away.

     a.  peak
     b.  peek
22.  I think you need to ________ your plans since it is raining today.

     a.  altar
     b.  alter
23.  You can ________ many birds in the park this time of year.

     a.  here
     b.  hear
24.  The high ________ was earlier today.

     a.  tide
     b.  tied
25.  The mountains are my favorite ________ to go hiking.

     a.  place
     b.  plaice
26.  The room was ________ except for a table and four chairs.

     a.  bare
     b.  bear
27.  She decided to eat ________ pieces of bread.

     a.  to
     b.  two
28.  There has to be an easier ________ to get there.

     a.  whey
     b.  way
29.  She has a ________ on her foot.

     a.  sore
     b.  soar
30.  She ________ the bus and had to wait 30 minutes for the next one.

     a.  missed
     b.  mist
31.  The clothing store has a big ________ today.

     a.  sail
     b.  sale
32.  Many people ________ when they go to a religious service.

     a.  pray
     b.  prey
33.  That restaurant is famous for serving a bigger than average ________.

     a.  stake
     b.  steak
34.  You have to ________ that garbage away with a truck.

     a.  hall
     b.  haul
35.  There was a loud ________ from the class when they saw their exam scores.

     a.  groan
     b.  grown
36.  The class ________ a mess.

     a.  made
     b.  maid
37.  The sunset was an incredible ________.

     a.  sight
     b.  site
38.  She liked ________ from the beginning.

     a.  him
     b.  hymn
39.  Usually the ________ students complain about getting too much homework.

     a.  mail
     b.  male
40.  That was a ________ movie.

     a.  grate
     b.  great
41.  She felt ________ when she closed the door on her finger.

     a.  pane
     b.  pain
42.  They ________ about the sale and decided to go shopping instead.

     a.  heard
     b.  herd
43.  The ________ is actually a star.

     a.  son
     b.  sun
44.  I think that was a ________ trade.

     a.  fair
     b.  fare
45.  The supermarket is located on the opposite ________ of the street.

     a.  sighed
     b.  side
46.  There is only one ________ answer to the question.

     a.  right
     b.  write
47.  Some people like an ________ seat when they go to the movies.

     a.  isle
     b.  aisle
48.  The ________ spent all afternoon sleeping in the barn.

     a.  hoarse
     b.  horse
49.  They had an interesting ________ to tell after returning from their vacation.

     a.  tail
     b.  tale
50.  The couple reserved the honeymoon ________ at the hotel.

     a.  suite
     b.  sweet
Additional Lessons
About These Lessons

The following classroom lessons are great for students who want additional conversation, listening, and reading practice.
  • Conversation Lesson - Intermediate Level. Let's Learn English conversation lesson with a conversation video, a video script, audio listening practice, and a new words section.
Conversation Lesson 27 - Fish out of Water
(Intermediate - Conversation, Listening, Reading)

In this lesson Anna visits a friend on her houseboat. She says she wants to live on one. But, is that really a good idea?
Lesson Video

Watch the video and then read the video script.
Video Script

ANNA: Hello, Ms. Weaver!
MS. WEAVER: Oh, Anna. I’ve invited some people to dinner Saturday. We’re going to that new seafood restaurant -- Fish on a Dish.
MS. WEAVER: Why don’t you join us? My treat.
ANNA: Thanks, Ms. Weaver. But I already have plans. My friend has invited me to her houseboat.
MS. WEAVER: Houseboat, really? That’s unique.
ANNA: Yes, it is. In fact, I’m thinking of living on a houseboat.
MS. WEAVER: Aren’t you too tall and klutzy to live on a houseboat?
ANNA: I am not too tall!
(She knocks over a display board.)
PROF. BOT VO: Is Anna really ready for a houseboat?
PROF. BOT: Ms. Weaver invited Anna to dinner. When we make friendly, informal invitations, we use phrases like “Why don’t…?”
PROF. BOT: For example, Ms. Weaver said, “Why don’t you join us? My treat!” That’s: Why don’t plus the subject plus the simple form of the verb.
PROF. BOT: Anna responded to the invitation by saying, “Thanks, but I already have plans.” Keep watching for more examples of informal invitations!
FANNY: Anna, I’m so glad you could come!
ANNA: Hi, Fanny!
FANNY: Hi, this is my son, Phoenix.
ANNA: Hi, Phoenix.
FANNY: How about you give Anna a tour and I will make some lunch?
PHOENIX: Aye, aye, captain!
FANNY: Great!
ANNA: Do you really call her “captain”?
PHOENIX: I kind of have to.
ANNA: So, Phoenix, I think I’d like to live on a houseboat. Do you like living here?
PHOENIX: I love it! It’s much different than living in a house.
ANNA: Oh, I bet. I bet you had to get rid of a lot of stuff, didn’t you?
PHOENIX: No way! We moved from a 3-story house to a boat! So, we really had to downsize!
ANNA: I’d have to get rid of a lot of stuff. I have a rock collection and I have some really big rocks.
ANNA: Can you stop this boat from rocking for a minute?

PHOENIX: No. We’re floating on water. I can’t do that.
ANNA: Well, since you live on the water, aren’t you afraid of great white sharks?
PHOENIX: No, not really. They don’t live in these waters.
ANNA: … that you know of. What about killer whales?
ANNA: Electric eels?
ANNA: Barracudas?
ANNA: Piranhas?
FANNY: You know, Anna, if you’re afraid of sea life, maybe you shouldn’t live on a houseboat. Do you have any boating experience?
ANNA: Oh, oh yeah, Fanny. I have battled the great waters before -- once on a swan boat and once in a duck boat ... bus. It was a boat that turned into a bus.
FANNY: Yeah, I don’t think that counts.
ANNA: Fanny, does this rocking ever bother you?
FANNY: No, I love it. It goes up and down and side to side and up and down. Anna, I love it!
(Because of the rocking, Anna begins to feel seasick.)
FANNY: Anna, are you feeling okay?
ANNA: Yeah, yeah. You know, I just need some fresh air.
FANNY: Let me open a window for you.
ANNA: No, I need some fresh land air. I mean, I need to breathe air on land. Oh, is that the time? I should really be going.
ANNA: Thanks for lunch, Fanny, and a tour of your houseboat. It’s given me a great idea!
FANNY: You’re going to live on a houseboat?
ANNA: Sort of. Thanks again!
ANNA: Hi! How would you like to hang out on my boat? Great! See you then!
(Ms. Weaver and Anna sit in a boat on land.)
ANNA: …and this is my shark net.
MS. WEAVER: Thank you for the invitation, Anna.
ANNA: Of course, would you like more orange juice?
ANNA: (to young man) Ahoy!

Now practice listening to only the audio portion of the conversation.
Writing Practice

Now, you try it!

Try making invitations! Invite someone to an event or activity. Use the language you learned today. Write your invitations in the comments below.

For example: Why don't you come to gym with me?

In English, we make friendly, informal invitations using phrases like:​

Why don't + subject + simple verb
"Why don't you join us?" -Ms. Weaver​

How about + subject + simple verb
"How about you give Anna a tour...?" -Fannie​

Let's + simple verb
"Let's learn English!" -Anna​

How would you like to + simple verb
"How would you like to hang out on my boat?" -Anna

A few phrases for accepting are:

That’s a good/great idea!
That sounds good/great.
Thanks! I’d love to.

A few phrases for declining are:

Thanks, but I already have plans.
That’s a good idea but…
I’m not sure.

Test Yourself

How well do you know the grammar from Level 2? Test yourself!

In today's lesson, you saw examples of grammar from other lessons. Look for sentences in Lesson 27 that have:

passive voice
tag questions
adverb clauses

We also used many contractions -- the short forms of words. Find the contractions and write their meanings in the comments below.

For example, Anna says, "I think I’d like to live on a houseboat." (I'd is a contraction. It means I would.)

English contractions:

’m = am
’re = are
’s = is and has
’ll = will
’ve = have
’d = had and would

Or, just tell us what you think of the lesson. We'd love to hear from you! Write to us in the Facebook comments section below.
New Words
  • acceptv. to receive or take something offered
  • Aye, aye, captain!expression. A phrase meaning “Yes, sir!” in naval language
  • barracudan. a kind of fierce tropical fish that has strong jaws and sharp teeth
  • battlev. to try or struggle very hard to do something
  • countv. to be considered or regarded as something
  • declinev. to say that you will not or cannot do something​
  • downsizev. to make something smaller
  • deckn. a flat surface that forms the main outside floor of a boat or ship
  • electric eeln. an eel-like freshwater fish of South America, using pulses of electricity to kill prey, to assist in navigation, and for defense
  • fish out of waterexpression. a person or thing is completely clueless or directionless when put into unfamiliar surroundings or an unfamiliar situation​
  • floatv. to rest on top of a liquid
  • get rid ofphrasal verb. to do something so that you no longer have or are affected by something that is unwanted
  • great white sharkn. a large aggressive shark of warm seas, with a brownish or gray back, white underparts, and large triangular teeth
  • houseboatn. a boat which is or can be moored for use as a house
  • invitev. to ask someone to go somewhere or do something
  • juicen. the liquid part that can be squeezed out of vegetables and fruits
  • klutzyadj. describing a clumsy person
  • killer whalen. a black-and-white whale that kills and eats other animals
  • kind ofexpression. to some extent
  • orangen. a citrus fruit that is round and that has an orange skin​
  • piranhan. a small South American fish that has sharp teeth and that eats the flesh of animals
  • respondv. to say or write something as an answer to a question or request
  • seasickadj. feeling sick because of the movement of a boat or ship that you are on
  • swann. a large usually white bird that lives on or near water and that has a very long and graceful neck
  • sort ofexpression. in some way
  • storyn. a group of rooms or an area that forms one floor level of a building
  • treatv. an occurrence in which you pay for someone's food, drink, or entertainment
Conversation Lessons

Study all 30 English intermediate conversation lessons. Let's Learn English conversation lessons each with a conversation video, a video script, audio listening practice, and a new words section. These lessons are for intermediate students.
Conversation Lessons

Study all 52 English beginner conversation lessons. Let's Learn English conversation lessons each with a conversation video, a video script, audio listening practice, video speaking practice, video pronunciation practice, a new words section, and a writing activity. These lessons are for beginning students.
Source: Voice of America
Additional Information
Avoid Ineffective Study Methods

The complete lesson includes an audio program explaining this topic, the script for the audio program, a words in this story section, and other important information.
Click for the complete lesson
Audio Program

Listen to the audio program explaining this topic.
Improve Your Pronunciation by Training Your Ears

The complete lesson includes an audio program explaining this topic, the script for the audio program, a words in this story section, and other important information.
Click for the complete lesson
Audio Program

Listen to the audio program explaining this topic.
Improve Your Long-Term Memory by Spacing Practice

The lesson includes an audio program explaining this topic, the script for the audio program, a words in this story section, and other important information.
Click for the complete lesson
Audio Program

Listen to the audio program explaining this topic.
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