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  • At least a couple of times a week I get an email or comment from someone wondering

  • What’s the difference betweendeeranddear’?”

  • Or something similar.

  • And at least some of you know, there is no difference in the pronunciation.

  • They are homophones.

  • In this American English pronunciation video,

  • were going to go over what homophones are, and a long list of them.

  • Youll probably even learn some new words.

  • English is not a phonetic language.

  • That means there is not a direct relationship between letters and sounds.

  • So you can have two different words with different spellings that are pronounced exactly the same.

  • These are called homophones, and there are a lot in American English.

  • When I was in Paris with my friend Sara,

  • she said something about the bridge with locks.

  • It’s a famous bridge,

  • though I believe they have since had to remove some or all of the locks.

  • But she said something about this bridge and my mind went to a different word,

  • lochs’, a narrow bay or body of water.

  • It makes sense, bridge, bay.

  • Then my mind went tolox’ – salmon.

  • Again, it kind of makes sense: bridge, water, salmon.

  • But then I realized she meant thislocks’. And we had a good laugh.

  • Normally with homophones, the context is clear enough

  • that there is no doubt which word you mean.

  • In this video we are going to go over an incredibly long list of homophones,

  • some involving very common words.

  • Some of them may surprise you, and chances are some of the words will be new to you.

  • If any words are unfamiliar, right them down and look up the meaning.

  • Here we go.

  • ad / add

  • aid / aide

  • air / heir / err

  • aisle / isle / I'll

  • Note the contraction will usually be reduced.

  • Then, instead of sounding likeaisle’, it will sound likeall

  • allowed / aloud

  • alter / altar

  • ant / aunt

  • note A-U-N-T can also be pronouncedaunt’,

  • but it is most commonly pronouncedant’.

  • arc / ark

  • assent / ascent

  • assistance / assistants

  • ate / eight

  • aural / oral

  • away / aweigh

  • Anchors aweigh!

  • aye / eye

  • bail / bale

  • bait / bate

  • ball / bawl

  • band / banned

  • bard / barred

  • bare / bear

  • baron / barren

  • base / bass

  • be / bee

  • beach / beech

  • beat / beet

  • beau / bow

  • bell / belle

  • berry / bury

  • billed / build

  • berth / birth

  • bite / byte

  • blew / blue

  • bloc / block

  • boar / bore

  • board / bored

  • boarder / border

  • bode / bowed

  • bolder / boulder

  • born / borne

  • bough / bow [ow]

  • bread / bred

  • brake / break

  • brewed / brood

  • brews / bruise

  • bridle / bridal

  • broach / brooch

  • browse / brows

  • but / butt

  • buy / by / bye

  • cache / cash

  • callous / callus

  • cannon / canon

  • canvas / canvass

  • capital / capitol

  • carat / carrot / caret / karat

  • carol / carrel

  • cast / caste

  • cede / seed

  • ceiling / sealing

  • cell / sell

  • cellar / seller

  • censor / sensor

  • cent / scent / sent

  • cents / scents / sense

  • cereal / serial

  • cession / session

  • chance / chants

  • chased / chaste

  • cheap / cheep

  • chews / choose

  • chic / sheik

  • chilly / chili

  • choral / coral

  • chute / shoot

  • chord / cord

  • cite / sight / site

  • clause / claws

  • click / clique

  • close / clothes

  • though you don’t have to drop the TH inclothes’,

  • most native speakers do.

  • coarse / course

  • colonel / kernel

  • complement / compliment

  • coo / coup

  • coop / coupe

  • core / corps

  • correspondence / correspondents

  • council / counsel

  • creak / creek

  • crews / cruise

  • cue / queue

  • currant / current

  • curser / cursor

  • cymbal / symbol

  • dam / damn

  • days / daze

  • dear / deer

  • defused / diffused

  • desert / dessert

  • The first word here can either be DEH-sert or dee-ZERT.

  • Don’t desert me!

  • I’d love more dessert.

  • dew / do / due

  • die / dye

  • disburse / disperse

  • This one is interesting.

  • The consonant B and P are not the same,

  • but they sound the same here.

  • The P, unvoiced, often sounds more like a voiced consonant,

  • the B, when it’s in the middle of a word.

  • disburse / disperse

  • doe / dough

  • draft / draught

  • dual / duel

  • earn / urn

  • ewe / you / yew

  • eye / I

  • fair / fare

  • faze / phase

  • feat / feet

  • find / fined

  • fir / fur

  • flair / flare

  • flea / flee

  • flew / flu / flue

  • flour / flower

  • flocks / phlox

  • for / four / fore

  • of course, ‘foris reduced in sentences tofer’.

  • I made this for you!

  • foreword / forward

  • forth / fourth

  • foul / fowl

  • friar / fryer

  • gait / gate

  • gene / jean

  • gild / guild

  • gilt / guilt

  • gnu / knew / new

  • gored / gourd

  • gorilla / guerilla

  • grate / great

  • grease / Greece

  • groan / grown

  • guessed / guest

  • hail / hale

  • hair / hare

  • hall / haul

  • halve / have

  • hangar / hanger

  • hay / hey

  • heal / heel / he'll

  • The contractionhellwill usually be reduced in a sentence.

  • Then it can sound likehill’.

  • Hell, hill.

  • hear / here

  • heard / herd

  • heed / he'd

  • hertz / hurts

  • hew / hue / Hugh

  • Hi / high

  • higher / hire

  • him / hymn

  • hoard / horde

  • hoarse / horse

  • hole / whole

  • holey / holy / wholly

  • hoes / hose

  • hold / holed

  • hostel / hostile

  • hour / our

  • Houris a noun. That’s a content word, so it will be stressed in a sentence.

  • Our’, on the other hand is usually unstressed,

  • and will sound more likeour’.

  • Ourour

  • He’s our uncle.

  • From this perspective, theyre not homophones.

  • idle / idol

  • illicit / elicit

  • in / inn

  • instance / instants

  • intense / intents

  • its / it's

  • jam / jamb

  • knead / kneed / need

  • knight / night

  • knit / nit

  • knot / not

  • know / no

  • knows / nose

  • lay / lei

  • leach / leech

  • lead / led

  • leak / leek

  • lean / lien

  • leased / least

  • lessen / lesson

  • levee / levy

  • liar / lyre

  • lie / lye

  • lieu / Lou

  • links / lynx

  • load / lode

  • loan / lone

  • locks / lox / lochs

  • loot / lute

  • low / lo

  • made / maid

  • mail / male

  • main / mane / Maine

  • Maize / maze

  • mall / maul

  • manner / manor

  • marry / merry / Mary

  • Now, some people will say these are all pronounced differently.

  • It depends on your region. I pronounce them all the same.

  • marry / merry / Mary

  • Marshal / martial

  • massed / mast

  • meat / meet / mete

  • medal / meddle

  • This pair of homophones actually sound just like this pair of homophones: metal / mettle,

  • because of the Flap T, which comes between vowel sounds,

  • and sounds just like the D between vowel sounds.

  • This makes homophone pairs that aren’t even listed here, likemadder’, ‘matter’.

  • medal / meddle

  • Might / mite

  • mince / mints

  • mind / mined

  • miner / minor

  • missed / mist

  • moan / mown

  • mode / mowed

  • moose / mousse