Discover our guide with a homophones word list to expand your vocabulary and learn to use these tricky words correctly.
From your and you’re to there, they’re, and their homophones are everywhere–and if you don’t play your cards right, they can mess with your writing. You’ll want to keep an eye on these common homophones to be sure you’re using them correctly.
What Are Homophones?
Homophones are words that sound the same when spoken out loud but have different meanings. When you use the wrong homophone in writing, readers can get confused, and your message can get muddled.
These triplets can be easy to interchange, and you’ll want to be sure you have the right pick when using one in your writing.
1. By, Buy, and Bye
Marie glanced at the people passing by the cafe as she sipped her coffee, wondering when her blind date would finally show up.
Maurice went to the store to buy chips and dip for the Super Bowl party that evening and wondered whether he should also grab a few two liters of soda.
Kim said bye to her friend, enveloping her in a warm hug before they parted ways at the airport.
2. There, Their, and They’re
They were excited to go to a new restaurant, but Stephanie wasn’t sure whether she wanted to go there, as it was getting late, and she had to get up early with her kids in the morning.
Gary and Linda were worried about getting a speeding ticket as they raced down the freeway to the airport in time for their flight.
The Brown family is going up against the homeowners’ association, as they’re telling the family they can’t put up their blow-up Christmas decorations in their front yard.
3. To, Too, and Two
Victoria wanted to go to the post office, as she needed to get delivery confirmation for the letter she was sending to her sister.
Joel and Justin headed out to the playground to hop on the swings, and their little sister, Josey, decided she wanted to tag along too.
Alicia carefully considered the differences between the two hotels when booking her vacation, debating whether it was more important to her to have an in-room Jacuzzi or a beautiful ocean view.
These easily interchanged words can be easy to mix up–check out our example sentences to ensure you have the word you want in your writing.
4. Aloud and Allowed
Marissa stood up in front of the room, clutching her paper with shaking hands, as it was finally her turn to read her poem aloud to the class.
Lacey wasn’t allowed to stay out past midnight.
5. Bazaar and Bizarre
Dorothy set up her table at the church bazaar and hoped to sell even more crafts than she had the previous year.
Nicky couldn’t help but laugh when she realized how bizarre her relationship had become–she couldn’t decide whether to stay or leave.
6. Borough and Burrow
Chad couldn’t believe his luck when he was pulled over by a borough police officer when he was only going five miles over the speed limit.
The little ones had to watch their step as they ran through the field, as the bunnies were known for digging deep burrows that made it easy to trip and fall.
7. Brake and Break
Jane jammed her foot on the brake pedal as the light turned red, and she felt a sense of relief as her car stopped just before the white line.
Theresa made a point to stop by the break room on her way to her office every morning, so she could turn on the coffee machine before the rest of the building’s employees arrived.
8. Coarse and Course
The horse’s fur felt coarse and soft at the same time, and Elise felt a sense of peace as they rode down the trail toward the sunset over the ocean.
Lauren wasn’t sure whether she’d be able to handle her course load this semester at Penn State, so she scheduled an appointment with her academic advisor to discuss whether taking 18 credits at a time was overly ambitious.
9. Colonel and Kernel
The colonel took his place on the podium at the Memorial Day celebration, ready to speak about the bravery of his troops during their time in Iraq.
Dr. Cho and the rest of the dental team at Cho Dental often remind patients to be extra careful when eating popcorn, as biting down on even one kernel can create a painful cracked tooth.
10. Compliment and Complement
Jackie wasn’t sure whether Dave’s compliment was genuine, as she hadn’t paid particular attention to her hair that morning, but she appreciated his kind words nevertheless.
A balsamic reduction is a perfect complement to braised pork chops, but it can’t replace proper salt and pepper seasoning.
11. Here and Hear
There was nowhere else in the world that Annabelle wanted to be, as she was working hard to enjoy every moment of her family vacation by staying in the here and now.
Pam could barely hear her yoga teacher over the sound of the person’s breathing next to her, but she worked on tuning it out and focused on making it through her next sun salutation.
12. Know and No
Will didn’t know for sure whether it made sense to ask Madeline to the prom, but he knew that he’d be kicking himself if he didn’t take a chance and ask.
Andy wasn’t sure whether he should say yes or no to the new job offer, it was significantly more money, but he’d have to spend an extra half hour driving to and from work.
13. Meet and Meat
Ms. Carter felt even more nervous to meet the new teacher than most of her students, as it was her first year teaching kindergarten, and she wasn’t sure what to expect.
Dahlia told her husband to stop at the butcher’s shop for meat on the way home, as it was usually far fresher than what she could find at their local grocery store.
14. Muscle and Mussel
Veronica felt the muscles in her body get to work as she sprinted toward the finish line, finally edging out the competition to solidify her chance to go to the district track meet for 400 meters.
Charlie looked at the mussels on his plate–he knew they were supposed to be a delicacy, but he couldn’t bring himself to get past their slimy texture.
15. Peace and Piece
Elizabeth worked hard to find inner peace but found it tough to go through a breakup, even when she practiced self-care and her friends rallied around her.
Catherine knew that she’d need to go piece by piece through each document to put her family tree together, but learning about her family was well worth the effort.
16. Pear and Pair
Erica selected several pears from the stack at the supermarket, knowing they’d make the perfect addition to the charcuterie board she was preparing for her party that evening.
Amy and Alanna were quite a pair; the identical twins were inseparable, serving each other as best friends and sisters.
17. Pray and Prey
Otto always stopped to pray before he went to bed, no matter how exhausted he was from working as a CEO and volunteering with underprivileged youth in his community.
The caracal stalked its prey across the savannah, slowly sneaking up on the wild bird before it could fly off into the African sunrise.
18. Raise and Rays
Miss Foster had to remind her second-grade students to raise their hands when they needed to ask a question, but it was tough for them to remember the rule when they got too excited about knowing the answer to the question.
The sun’s rays shone out over the sea as it began to set, creating a diamond-like effect as the team of sailors hurried toward shore to get home before nightfall.
19. Right and Write
Teaching kids the difference between right and wrong can be trying, but doing so can pay off in dividends as they grow older and have to make tough decisions on their own.
Some people continue to question whether Shakespeare was the one to write his collections of plays; some people hypothesize that a group of writers was behind the name of the Bard.
20. Sail and Sale
The cruise ship set sail for Puerto Rico at 5 pm sharp, and cruisers knew that they needed to be back on board to make it to their next destination.
As Estelle began to decorate her house, she found that checking out local yard sales helped her get standard household items at a cost that didn’t break the bank.
21. Stare and Stair
Hanna couldn’t help but stare at Jamie in their grad school class–she looked exactly like her ex-boyfriend and wanted to ask him if they were related.
Don had to walk down the stairs carefully, as his recent surgery had left him more prone to falls than usual.
22. Stationary and Stationery
Stationary bikes provided Matt with a great way to get a workout from home without having to trudge to the gym for a 6 am spin class every day before work.
While some people feel that writing letters has become a lost art, there’s something calming about sitting down with a gorgeous pen and a new pad of stationery to catch up with loved ones.
23. Whole and Hole
When Kate told Kevin that he was her whole world, she meant it; but she knew she would have to find a way to go on with her life after he moved halfway across the world to secure his dream job.
Digging a hole in the ground didn’t have much of a point, but the two five-year-old boys let their imaginations run wild about what they might find if they kept going.
24. Your and You’re
Rick told Chris that taking your chances at the casino wasn’t a good idea, but he couldn’t help the draw of the noisy slot machines as he walked past Harrah’s.
“You’re trying your best,” the mom said to her discouraged teen, who was working to pitch a perfect game and was starting to get nervous in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Looking for more? Check out our list of vivid verbs to use in your writing!
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