Homophones: Some Commonly Misused Words

Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. English is full of these little confusing gems, which can cause people a lot of difficulty when it comes to the written word. Spell check likely won’t catch homophones, because the word you’ve used is spelled correctly, but is just the wrong word for the sentence. Here are a few homophones that often cause a lot of confusion:

Principle/Principal

Principle: an accepted code of rules, like the principles of mathematics, or a person who has strong moral principles.

Principal: first and foremost, or highest in rank, like the principal of a school.

Peek/Peak/Pique

Peek: to take a quick look, like peeking around the corner.

Peak: a summit or the top, like a mountain peak.

Pique: to provoke an emotion or reaction, like to pique his curiosity.

Right/Write/Wright

Right: either the opposite of left, something that is correct, or a just claim to something, like basic human rights.

Write: to compose with words or the act of marking words on paper, like to write a blog post.

Wright: a less common word, but it means a worker or craftsman, like a boatwright (a builder of boats).

Pour/Pore

Pour: to send liquid out in a stream, like pour from a bottle.

Pore: either a tiny opening (like pores of the skin), or the act of intense study or interest, like to pore over your homework assignment.

Rain/Reign/Rein

Rain: precipitation in the form of liquid water, like rain falling from the sky.

Reign: influence or sovereignty, like a king’s reign.

Rein: to control or restrain in general, or the straps of an animal’s harness designed for such a purpose, like the reins of a horse’s bridle, or to rein in an unruly child.

 

What are some other homophones that give you trouble?

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