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14.11: Homophones and Near-Homophones

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Homophones and Near-Homophones

1. Homophones are two or more words that have different spellings and meanings but sound exactly alike, such as bare and bear. Near-homophones are two or more words that have different spellings and meanings and sound very much alike, though not exactly, such as the nouns refuse “garbage, rubbish” and refuge “haven, protection.”

2. Many homophones and near-homophones involve the spellings \begin{align*}<\mathrm{s}>\end{align*}<s>, <c>, <sc>, and the sounds [s] and [z], like the following twenty-four sets:

\begin{align*}&\text{advice,advise} && \text{loose, lose}\\ &\text{cell, sell} && \text{mussel, muscle}\\ &\text{cellar, seller} && \text{phase, faze}\\ &\text{cent, sent, scent} && \text{please, pleas}\\ &\text{cereal, serial} && \text{pries, prize}\\ &\text{cite, sight, site} && \text{prose, pros}\\ &\text{conscience, conscious} && \text{quarts,quartz}\\ &\text{cymbal, symbol} && \text{recent, resent}\\ &\text{decent, descent} && \text{refuse, refuge}\\ &\text{device, devise} && \text{sects, sex}\\ &\text{discuss, discus} && \text{sic(k)s, six}\\ &\text{hiss, his} && \text{vice, vise}\end{align*}advice,advisecell, sellcellar, sellercent, sent, scentcereal, serialcite, sight, siteconscience, consciouscymbal, symboldecent, descentdevice, devisediscuss, discushiss, hisloose, losemussel, musclephase, fazeplease, pleaspries, prizeprose, prosquarts,quartzrecent, resentrefuse, refugesects, sexsic(k)s, sixvice, vise

Sort the sets into the following groups:

Homophones Homophones Near-homophones
cell, sell please, pleas advice, advise
cellar, seller pries, prize conscience, conscious
cent, sent, scent prose, pros decent, descent
cereal, serial sects, sex device, devise
sight, cite, site sic(k)s, six discus, discuss
quarts, quartz vice, vise hiss, his
cymbal, symbol loose, lose
muscle, mussel recent, resent
phase, faze refuse, refuge

3. Two of the sets are homophones because of different spellings of [ks]. Write them into the following table:

\begin{align*}sects, sex && sic(k)s\end{align*}sects,sexsic(k)s

4. Four of the sets are homophones partly because of different spellings of the sound [z]:

\begin{align*}& phase, faze && pries, prize\\ & please, please && prose, pros\end{align*}phase,fazeplease,pleasepries,prizeprose,pros

5. Ten of the sets are homophones partly because of different spellings of the sound [s]:

\begin{align*}& cell, sell && cite, sight, site && mussel, muscle\\ & cellar, seller && quarts, quartz && vice, vise\\ & cent, sent, scent && cymbal, symbol\\ & cereal, serial && discuss, discus\end{align*}cell,sellcellar,sellercent,sent,scentcereal,serialcite,sight,sitequarts,quartzcymbal,symboldiscuss,discusmussel,musclevice,vise

6. Six of the sets of near-homophones contain a word with [z] spelled \begin{align*}<\mathrm{s}>\end{align*}<s>:

\begin{align*}& advice, advise && hiss, his && recent, resent\\ & device, devise && loose, lose && refuge, refuse\end{align*}advice,advisedevice,devisehiss,hisloose,loserecent,resentrefuge,refuse

7. Two of the sets of near-homophones involve shifting the stress from the first to the second vowel:

\begin{align*}& decent, descent && discus, discuss\end{align*}decent,descentdiscus,discuss

8. One of the sets of near-homophones involves an [n] near the end of one of the words that can easily get lost:

\begin{align*}conscience, conscious\end{align*}conscience,conscious

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Last Modified:
Jul 07, 2015
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