GRAMMAR

Homonyms

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Homonyms are words that are pronounced the same and may be spelled the same, but differ in meaning. Homonyms are very common in English. Familiarize yourself with them to help avoid making spelling mistakes.

Here’s a handy guide to common homonyms:

A    B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   K   L   M   N   O   P   R   S   T   V   W

A

accept (v) – to take, to agree to, tolerate. We accept your proposal.
except (n) – everything but. I’ve ready every one of Stephen King’s books except Misery.

ad (n) – advertisement. Did you see the ad on television for the new Swiffer?
add (v) – to combine, to join. Please add the numbers in this column together.

aid (n) – to help. Joe traveled to Sri Lanka after the tsunami to aid in the relief efforts.
aide (n) – a helper. Thanks to the volunteer aides, the relief effort was successful.

ail (v) – to have pain. Susan’s back is ailing her, so she won’t be in today.
ale (n) – beer. Let’s go to the bar and get a couple of pints of ale.

air (n) – the colorless, odorless stuff we breathe. Go outside and get some fresh air.
heir (n) – someone who inherits or is entitled to inherit the estate of another. Murdoch’s eldest son will be heir to much of his fortune.

allowed – permitted. Cell phones are not allowed in the lecture hall.
aloud – with the use of a voice. Please read the article aloud to the class.

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B

bear (v) – to carry; to support; to tolerate. Jim couldn’t bear his boss for another day, so he finally decided to quit his job.
bear (n) – an omnivorous mammal. We are going to the National Zoo to visit the panda bears.
bare (v) – to uncover; to expose.
bare (adj) – completely undressed; free of leaves. In the winter, all the trees on our lawn are bare.

beat (v) – to strike repeatedly. Go outside and beat the carpets until they’re clean.
beat (v) – to defeat as in a contest. Cory Russell beat Joe Jenkins in the Senate race.
beat (n) – a pulsation; a steady succession of units of rhythm (music). Listen to the beat of the drum.
beet (n) – a plant with an edible purple root. Let’s make soup out of these beets.

been – past tense of was. Where have you been all my life?
bin – a container for storage, laundry, or trash. Please put all your old toys in a bin and put them in the basement.

berry – a small, juicy fruit such as a raspberry or blueberry. In the summer, I love to pick berries around the neighborhood.
bury – to place a dead body underground; to hide. Where were your ancestors buried?

blew (v) – past tense of blow – to move along or be carried by the wind or an air current; to expel air from the mouth. Alice’s papers blew away in the wind.
blue (adj) – the color you’ll see when you look up at the sky on a sunny day. Kim looked out at the blue sea and decided to go for a swim.

brake (n) – a device that causes slowing or stopping. Mike’s brakes failed and he ended up crashing into another car.
brake (v) – to apply the a brake to slow something down (such as a car). Be sure to brake if you see a deer in the street.

break (n) – act of breaking; a pause in the day to relax. Let’s take a break and grab some coffee.
break (v) – to cause to split into pieces. Don’t put the wine glasses in the dishwasher – they might break.
break (v) – to snap off or detach. Please break off a small piece of bread for me.
break (v) – to fracture a bone. Be careful not to break your leg during the ski trip!

buy (v) – to purchase; to get in exchange for money. Nancy and Ted are saving money to buy a house.
by (prep) – close to. She lives by the school.
by (prep) – no later than. Please be home by five o’clock.
bye (interjection) – goodbye, farewell. Bye – see you tomorrow!

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C

capital (n) – a town or city that is the official seat of the government. Moscow is the capital of Russia.
capital (n) – wealth in the form of money or property; an asset. Jim has started to raise capital from investors to start a new software company.
Capitol (n) – the building in Washington, DC where the U.S. Congress meets. Are you going to have a chance to tour the Capitol during your trip to Washington?

ceiling (n) – what’s above your head when you’re in a room, the opposite of the floor.
The ceilings in houses from the 18th century are very low.
sealing (n) – the act of making something waterproof. Let’s put the sealing on the deck before the rainy season.

cell (n) – a very small room, such as in a prison. Martha Stewart was able to get a lot of work done from her prison cell.
cell (n) – the smallest unit of an organism that is able to function independently. Jane didn’t understand the role of the cell until she took a biology class.
sell (v) – to exchange for money; to offer for sales; to achieve sales of. We’re planning to sell our car and buy a mini-van.

cent (n) – one penny, the smallest unit of U.S. currency. Kim bent down and picked a penny off the ground.
scent (n) – a distinctive odor, a smell. Laura enjoys the scent of lavender.
sent (v) – past tense of send. Last week I sent you an email about a new dating service.

cite (v) – to quote as an example; to mention as proof. In the play the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare wrote, “The Devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
sight (n) – vision. Henry can’t drive anymore since his sight is so bad.
site (n) – the place where something is situated. This is going to be the site of the new Trader Joe’s store opening in the fall.

colonel (n) – a rank in the military. Tim serves as a colonel in the U.S. Army.
kernel (n) – a seed or grain; the core. While eating popcorn, Nick cracked his tooth on a kernel.

compliment (v & n) – to give praise or admiration; an expression of praise. Harry paid me a nice compliment when he told me I was really good at my job.
complement (v & n) – to complete or make whole; something that completes or makes whole. Carol often wears scarves to complement her outfits.

council (n) – a group of people gathered for discussion; an elected body. Are you going to run for student council this year?
counsel (v) – to give advice. I’d counsel you to be more careful about what type of questions you ask during the interview.
counsel (n) – a lawyer or group of lawyers giving advice or conducting a court case; legal advice; guidance. Enron executives and their legal counsel have been completely disgraced.

creak (v) – to make a squeaking sound. All of the doors in this old house creak.
creek (n) – a small, shallow stream. In the summertime, kids like to swim in the creek behind our house.

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D

dear (adj) – loved, highly esteemed. Paula is a very dear friend of mine.
deer (n) – a hoofed mammal. A deer jumped out into the road while Victor was driving.

discreet (adj) – tactful or diplomatic. The president has been having an affair with the receptionist for years, but they’re very discreet about it.
discrete (adj) – separate or distinct. We have several discrete units within our company.

dew (n) – water droplets condensed from the air that collect on surfaces. Dew collects on my windshield when I leave my car out all night.
due (adj) – payable immediately; owed. Your monthly credit card payment is now due.
do (v) – conduct or carry out something. What should we do about the leak in our roof?

doe (n) – a female deer. We spotted a doe with her two fauns in our backyard.
dough (n) – a moistened mass of flour used to make bread. The sandwich shop makes dough from scratch for their bread.
dough (n) – slang term for money. Lou asked his friend Hal to loan him some dough.

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E

earn (v) – to gain through work; to deserve. How much money does Ivan earn as a partner at the law firm?
urn (n) – a vase. Joe accidentally kicked over the urn and ashes spilled out all over the floor.

effect (n) – a result (as in cause and effect). Studies show that letting employees work from home can have a positive effect on productivity.
effect(v) – to bring about, to accomplish. When he took over as president, Ron Jameson effected many changes in the organization.
affect (v) – have an effect or influence on; to move emotionally. The documentary about poverty in India affected me deeply.
affect(v) – to pretend, to assume. Olivia has always lived in the United States, so it’s clear she affects that British accent.

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F

fair (adj) – moderately good. We won’t return to dinner at Marcel’s Bistro since the food was only fair and the prices were high.
fair (adj) – just; reasonable; consistent with rules or ethics. It’s not fair that Jim didn’t get any credit for the project when he did most of the work!
fare (n) – Can you loan me $2 for the subway fare?

faze – to temporarily stop or shock. Diane’s parents are so used to her bad behavior that it barely fazed them when she didn’t return home until 5 o’clock in the morning.
phase – a stage through which one goes. Diane’s parents hope that she’s just going through a phrase and that her behavior will improve soon.

feat (n) – an act of courage, skill or endurance. Jim managed to stand on a one foot for three hours – what a feat!
feet (n) – plural of foot. Be sure to try the shoes on both feet to make sure they fit.

find (v) – to locate. I can’t find my keys anywhere!
fined (v) – past tense of fine (to charge money as a penalty). The company was fined for using illegal software.

fir (n) – an evergreen tree. We have a lot of Douglas firs growing in our backyard.
fur (n) – The coat of soft hair that covers many mammals. Tom’s cat has beautiful, shiny fur.

flea (n) – a small, wingless, bloodsucking insect. Is that a flea on the dog’s ear?
flee (v) – to run away. When the fight broke out at the bar, we decided to flee the scene.

flew (v) – past tense of fly. We flew from Bratislava to Prague instead of taking the train.
flu (n) – influenza, an illness caused by a virus. Bill was out sick for two weeks with the flu.
flue (n) – a pipe to carry gas, steam, air, or smoke, as from a fireplace to a chimney. If we’re going to have a fire, please open the flue.

flour (n) – a fine powder, often made of wheat or corn, used in baking. If we’re going to bake bread, we’d better get some more flour.
flower (n) – a plant, known for its attractive blossoms. The rose is Olga’s favorite flower.
flower (v) – to produce flowers; to develop or mature. The Johnsons are sending their daughter to art school, so her talents can flower.

for (prep) – many meanings. They include: on behalf of (I’m speaking for Joe.); in favor of (Are you for the proposal?); used to indicate the purpose of an activity (This is recorded for training purposes), the recipient of an action (I baked these cookies for you), equivalence (I paid twelve dollars for the book).
four (n) – one, two, three, FOUR. Should we order three or four main courses?

forth (adv) – forward (in time, order, place, etc). Please come forth if you’re holding the winning lottery ticket.
fourth (adj) – first, second, third, FOURTH. You’re the fourth person in line.

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G

gnu (n) – a large animal with horns. Let’s visit the gnu during our trip to the zoo.
knew (v) – past tense of know. I knew you would get the job offer.
new (adj) – After driving their Honda Accord for fifteen years, the Reynolds finally decided to buy a new car.

grate (v) – to turn into powder or small pieces by rubbing against a surface; to irritate. Let’s grate the cheese and then put it on the pizza dough.
grate (n) – a framework of bars placed over an opening. We’d better put a grate over that hole before somebody falls in!
great (adj) – excellent. Thanks to our sales team, we had great results this quarter.

guessed (v) – past tense of guess. Sally guessed the weight of the pumpkin correctly.
guest (n) – We’re have a guest tonight for dinner, so we should prepare something nice.

gorilla (n) – the largest of the great apes. The gorilla is one of the most interesting animals at the Bronx Zoo.
guerrilla (n & adj) – a member of a small combat group that uses surprise tactics against the enemy. The army was attacked by a band of guerrillas.

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H

hail (n) – pieces of ice that fall from the sky like rain. Snow and rain are fine, but I don’t like hail.
hail (v) – to rain down pieces of ice. Be sure to drive carefully once it starts to hail.
hail (v) – to salute or greet; to wave down. Let’s hail a cab – 25 blocks is too far to walk!
hale (adj) – in good health. Nathan was a hale and hearty fellow, so everybody was surprised when he suddenly fell ill.

hair (n) – an outgrowth of the epidermis in mammals (e.g. human facial hair). Mike prefers to wear her hair long.
hare – (n) a swift, long-eared mammal, similar to the rabbit. Who wins the famous race between the tortoise and the hare?

Hay (n) – grass cut and dried for animal feed. The farmer has plenty of hay to feed his horses.
hey (interjection) – an exclamation used to draw attention. Hey guys, let’s get going to the movie theater now!

heal (v) – to get healthy again; to recover. Your broken arm will surely heal with time.
heel (n) – the back part of the foot; the bottom of a shoe. Todd got a blister on his heel while running the Boston Marathon.

here (adv) – this place (opposite of there). Please come here.
hear (v) – to process sound. Did you hear that noise?

high (adj) – elevated, far above the ground, opposite of low. The cat got stuck on a high branch.
hi (interjection) – hello. Hi, how are you today?

him (pron) – That’s Charles Parker — do you know him?
hymn (n) – The chorus sang a beautiful hymn during the Christmas concert.

hoard (v) – to accumulate and store up as much of something as one can; to keep for oneself. Fearing the bird flu, some people have started to hoard water.
horde (n) – large group of warriors; a large group of people, a mob. Hordes of people showed up for the going-out-of-business special at the electronics store.

hoarse (adj) – sounding rough or scratchy. After talking all day at the conference, Marie’s voice was hoarse.
horse (n) – a mammal with large hoofs. Sara learned to ride a horse when she was just three years old.

hole (n) – an opening. Water leaked through the hole in our roof.
whole (adj) – complete; entire. I don’t want the whole sandwich – just give me half.

hour (n) – 60 minutes. It will take one hour to have our film processed.
our (pron) – yours and mine; a modifier before a noun. Our son has a big appetite.

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I

idle (adj) – not busy; not doing anything; being still; unused. After the farm closed down, the tractors just stood idle.
idol (n) – an image used for worship; a false god; somebody who’s adored by fans.
idyll (n) – a short, romantic poem; a peaceful event or scene. The painting depicted a Tuscan idyll.

in (prep) – within the bounds of; to or towards the inside (and many other meanings). Let’s not wait outside the restaurant – let’s go in.
inn (n) – a hotel, usually one with a restaurant. Every year, we go skiing in Vermont and stay at an inn.

its (adj) – possessive form of it. The company canceled its annual holiday party this year.
it’s (contraction)– short for “it is.” It’s a beautiful day today.

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K

knight (n) – in medieval times, a military man who followed a nobleman. King Arthur was served by many knights.
night (n) – the time between sunset and sunrise. At night, raccoons come out.

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L

lead (v) – a heavy metal. The pipes in the old Victorian house were made of lead.
led (v) – the past tense of lead. Mike led the way down the path and his kids followed behind.

lessen (v) – to decrease, make smaller. What can I do to lessen the amount of junk mail I get?
lesson (n) – a unit of instruction. What time is your guitar lesson?

lie (v & n) – to tell an untruth; an untruth. Does Susan lie about her age? lie (v) – to recline; to be in a horizontal position. If you’re tired, lie down for a few minutes.
lye (n) – a strong alkaline substance used in the making of soap and other products. If you’re going to make soap, you’ll need to buy some lye.

leek (n) – a vegetable of the onion family. Do you ever use leeks in your cooking?
leak (n) – a hole which allows a gas or liquid to escape. A leak in the pipe underneath our sink caused a flood on the bathroom floor.
leak (v) – to spill out of a hole. If you don’t fix that tire, all the air will leak out of it.
leak (v & n) – to reveal confidential information anonymously. What other information will Karl Rove leak to journalists?

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M

made (v) – past tense of make. Larry made a lot of money in the stock market.
maid (n) – a female server; a woman who cleans houses. If you can’t keep your house clean yourself, you should hire a maid.

mail (n & v) – packages and letters sent through the postal service. I received your letter in the mail today.
male (n & adj) – opposite of female; characteristic of a man. Is your puppy male or female?

meat (n) – edible flesh of an animal. Jessica is a vegetarian, so she doesn’t eat any meat.
meet (v) – come together; fill a want or need; gather in one place. Let’s meet at Starbucks at noon.
mete (v) – give out. What type of punishment will the court mete out?

medal (n) – an award, often one that can be warn. After winning the marathon, Sam was proud to wear the gold medal around his neck.
meddle – to interfere in another’s business. Todd hopes his mother-in-law won’t meddle too much in his business.
metal (n & adj) – an element or alloy such as silver, gold, iron, bronze or brass. Are those candlesticks made of metal or plastic?
mettle (n) – courage, spirit. After falling down on the ice, the Japanese figure skating couple demonstrated their mettle by getting back up and finishing their routine.

miner (n) – somebody who works in a mine. The miner was trapped during an explosion.
minor (n) – somebody under the age of 18. The convenience store owner was fined $1,000 for selling beer to a minor.
minor (adj) – of lesser importance or rank. Lady Catherine was just a minor character in the book Pride and Prejudice.

missed (v) – past tense of miss. We missed our flight to Madrid and had to wait several hours for the next one.
mist (n) – a thin fog. We had trouble driving in the mist.

morning (n) – the time between midnight and midday. Let’s go home now and finish our work in the morning.
mourning (n) – period of grieving after a death of a friend or relative. After her best friend died, Mindy went into a long period of mourning.

muscle (n) – body tissue made up of cells and fiber responsible for allowing the body parts to move. After participating in the tennis tournament, Tina had sore muscles for days.
mussel (n) – an edible freshwater mollusk. Mussels are my favorite seafood.

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N

naval (adj) – related to the navy. Professor Jenkins is an expert in naval history.
navel (n) – belly button; hole in the middle of the abdomen where the umbilical cord was attached. Patty’s mother told her not to wear jeans that expose her navel.

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O

one (n) – a single unit; of the same quality; indivisible. Please take just one free sample.
won (v) – the past tense of win. Venus Williams won the match at Wimbledon.

overdo (v) – do too much; go to far in. If you overdo it at the gym, you’ll be sore tomorrow.
overdue (adj) – past due. Your library book is now overdue by two weeks.

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P

paced (v) – past tense of pace (to walk with slow or fast steps). Joan paced up and down the hospital hallway for hours waiting for news of her husband’s surgery.
paste (n & v) – glue; a sticky substance; to glue together; to apply; to attach.

pail (n) – a bucket. We used a pail and shovel to build a sand castle at the beach.
pale (adj) – very light-colored. I asked Molly if she was feeling well since she looked pale.

pair (n) – two of something. Paul would like a new pair of Nike sneakers for his birthday.
pare (v) – to take the skin off something. Can you please pare this apple?
pear (n) – a bell-shaped fruit. After finishing his sandwich, Bill ate a pear.

past (adj) – time before the present; former; beyond; after the hour; an earlier period of someone’s life. Rita things she was a queen in a past life.
passed (v) – past tense of pass. Congratulations – I hear you passed the exam!

piece (n) – a part of a whole; an item that is an example of a type; a slice. I’d like a small piece of cake.
peace (n) – the absence of war; quietness (peace of mind). Bill Clinton was active in negotiating peace around the world.

peak (n) – tip, height. How long did it take the climbers to reach the peak of Mount Everest?
peek (v & n) – to take a brief look. I got a peek at several exciting new software packages at the conference.
pique (v & n) – a cause a fit of anger; to provoke, to arouse. The magazine article on Russia piqued our curiosity, so we decided to take a trip to Moscow.

peer (n) – a person of equal standing. Pat asked her boss why her peers in the company were getting paid higher salaries than her.
peer (v) – to look Suzi peers under her bed every night before going to sleep to make sure there are no monsters hiding under there.
pier (n) – a landing place for boats. If you’d like to go out on a boat ride, please meet at the pier at noon.

plain (n) – a flat piece of land
plain (adj) – simple; apparent; not mixed with any other elements. Jill’s house is very plain – there are no pictures on the wall and there’s not much furniture.
plane (n) – airplane. We’re taking a plane to Las Vegas tonight.

pole (n) – a long rod. The swimmer grabbed the pole and was pulled out from the waves and into the boat.
Pole (n) – a native of Poland. My neighbor Jacek is a Pole.
poll (n & v) – a survey of the opinions of people. CBS News conducted a poll to see which presidential candidate was most popular.

pore (n) – a small hole in the skin. Joyce went to the spa for a facial to clean out her pores.
pour (v) – to flow out (said of liquid); to rain heavily; to move in large numbers. Please hold the container right side up so the water doesn’t pour out of it.

principal (n) – the unpaid balance on a loan. Christine has so much credit card debt that every month, she ends up making payments on the interest and not the principal.
principal (n) – the head of a school. Mr. Alstrom was just named principal of Middlebrook School.
principle (n) – a basic rule or law; a basic truth; rule of personal conduct. Dr. Phil suggests that you live your life by certain principles.

profit (n) – revenues minus expenses; net income. After several years of losses, this year the company will finally make a profit.
profit (v) – benefit from. By taking a job working for his father, Sally hoped to profit from his many years of experience.
prophet (n) – someone who divines the future; a religious figure who claims to speak for God. Nostradamus may be the most famous prophet of all times.

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R

rain (v & n) – drops of water that fall from the sky. It’s going to rain today so take your umbrella.
reign (v & n) – to rule; to hold power. During her reign, Catherine the Great promoted the westernization of Russia.
rein (n) – harness used to control a horse; something that restrains. If you want to stop your horse, pull hard on the reins.

raise (v) – to increase; to bring up. I wish they would raise the speed limit on this road.
raise (n) – a salary increase. This fall, Kim hopes to receive a large raise.
raze (v) – to destroy, to obliterate. They’re going to raze this old house and build a new one in its plays.
rays (n) – beams of light or energy. The rays of the sun are coming in through the window.

read (v) – past tense of read - to interpret something written; to interpret the significance of. I read an interesting article about the new trend in cheek kissing in today’s newspaper.
red (n & adj) – a color, crimson. Tim got angry and turned bright red.

right (adj) – the opposite to left; correct; straight. Take a right at the corner.
write (v) – to put down in letters; to send correspondence to. Please write to me as soon as you get back from your trip.
rite (n) – ritual. Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for most teenagers.

ring (n) – piece of jewelry worn on a finger. What a beautiful engagement ring!
ring (v) – make a sound like a telephone or bell; sound loudly to call. The church bells will ring for 10 minutes at midnight.
Wring (v) – strangle (wring one’s neck), squeeze and twist. Don’t wring out your sweater before laying it flat to dry.

road (n) – a path for travel; a means of achieving something. Which road leads to your house?
rode (v) – past tense of ride. We rode around the parking lot for 20 minutes looking for a spot.

role (n) – function; character; theatrical part. Nancy enjoys her role as supervisor.
roll (n) – a bun, a piece of bread. Did everybody get a dinner roll?
roll (v) – move by turning over; wheel. I would suggest you roll your suitcase instead of trying to pick it up.

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S

sail (v) – to travel by ship; to sweep. We’re going to sail around the islands today.
sale (n) – the activity of selling; the state of being purchasable; a reduction of prices. What kind of computer keyboards do you have for sale?
scene (n) – the place where some action takes place; picture; setting; a display of bad temper; a self-contained episode in a book, play or movie.
seen (v) – past participle of see. Have you seen my glasses anywhere?

sea (n) – an expanse of water connected to an ocean; a very large quantity of. This year, we’ll be spending our vacation by the sea.
see (v) – perceive by vision; understand; witness; meet. Did you see the full moon last night?

sew (v) – stitch together. Roberta makes all her own clothes – she loves to sew!
so (adv) – to a large extent; therefore; in a way that makes something possible. Pam has lost so much weight over the past few months.
sow (v) – to place seeds in the ground; introduce. The farmer will sow his land early in the fall.

seem (v) – appear to; look. You seem nervous – is everything okay?
seam (n) – a joint; a line where two pieces of fabric are held together

some (pron) – a few; an unspecified amount. Would you like some of these cookies?
sum (n) – a quantity of money; the total from adding 2 or more numbers together. Forty thousand dollars is quite a sum to pay for a used car!

soul (n) – spirit. Where does the soul go after we die?
sole (adj) – single, only. You’re the sole person I know who still sends out cards for Valentine’s Day.
sole (n) – the underside of the foot or of footwear; a flat fish such as flounder. Mike hurt the sole of his foot while running a marathon.

son (n) – male offspring; somebody’s male child. Betsy’s son is a student at Yale.
sun (n) – a star that is the source of heat and light for Earth. Let’s go for a walk while the sun is still shining.

stair (n) – a step. Paul tripped over the first stair.
stare (v) – to fix one’s eyes on. Didn’t your mother ever tell you it’s rude to stare?

stake (n) – a financial share; a post. What is Susan’s stake in the lottery winnings?
stake (v) – to put at risk; to bet on. How much are you planning to stake on this project?
steak (n) – a slice of meat or fish. I had steak for dinner last night.

stationery (n) – paper; office supplies. I’m going to Staples, so let me know if you need any stationery.
stationary (adj) – still; not moving; fixed to the ground. Ellen rode on her stationary bike for an hour last night.

steal (v) – to take without permission or authorization; to rob. If you leave your purse in the car, somebody might steal it.
steal (n) – a very good price. You paid $12 for that handbag? What a steal!
steel (n & adj) – a metal alloy composed mainly of iron.

suite (n) – several connected rooms in an apartment or a hotel; a musical piece consisting of loosely connected movements. We’re renting an entire suite for the party after the wedding.
sweet (adj) – sugary tasting; angelic; kind. I think you put too much sugar in this cake – it’s too sweet.

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T

tail (n) – the appendage attached to the back of most mammals. Our cat has a very long tail.
tale (n) – a story; a narrative; a lie. This is the tale of a rabbit and a tortoise that decided to compete in a race.

tea (n) – a drink made by soaking leaves in water. Who would like a cup of tea?
tee (n) – the starting point for a hole in golf; a support for a golf ball. Meet me at the first tee and we’ll start the game.

tear (v) – to separate quickly; to rip. Please tear off a sheet of paper for me.
tier (n) – layer; level; relative position. Dartmouth is in the top tier among universities.

their (pron) – belonging to them. Their dog is always playing our yard.
there (adv) – that place; a location other than here. Mark and Jim are going out to dinner at the Redding Roadhouse tonight, but I don’t think I want to go there.
they’re (contraction) – short for “they are.” They’re going out to dinner tonight, but we’re going to stay home.

threw (v) – past tense of throw. Somebody threw an empty pizza box onto our front lawn.
through (prep) – over an entire distance; from beginning to end; to completion. Did you read War and Peace all the way through?

tide (n) – the changes in the surface level of the ocean; something that changes like waters in the tide. The tide came in and knocked over Sam’s sand castle.
tied (v) – past tense of tie. Helen wrapped the gift and tied a purple ribbon around it.

to (prep) – towards, headed for; in the direction of; in order to; used before verbs to form the infinitive. We’re going to church at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning.
too (adv) – also; excessively. You paid too much for those jeans.
two (n) – the number 2. I’ll be with you in two minutes.

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V

vain (adj) – conceited; thinking too highly of oneself; overly concerned with one’s own appearance. Lisa tells everybody that she’s the best dressed woman in the office, so it’s not surprising that her co-workers say she’s vain!
vane (n) – a weathervane, used to indicate direction of the wind. We put a vane on the roof of our house so we’d always know how the wind was blowing.
vein (n) – a blood vessel that carries blood from the capillaries toward the heart. Jack had to have surgery on his eye to repair a blocked vein.

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W

wear (v) – to be dressed in; to deteriorate with use (wear out). We’re allowed to wear jeans to work on Fridays.
ware (n) – merchandise. Many craftsmen were displaying their wares at the art festival.
where (adv) – the first word in a sentence seeking to know the location of something or someone. Where is John?

way (n) – means; manner; direction; path. I like the way you prepared this salmon.
weigh (v) – to have a certain weight; to put something or someone on a scale. How much do you weigh?

weak (adj) – having little strength; lacking in a skill; watery. Jack felt weak after the surgery.
week (n) – seven days in a row. It took Jack six weeks to recover from the surgery.

which (pron) – word used to ask or to specify what person or thing one is referring to. Which do you like better – lasagna or tortellini?
witch (n) – a family sorcerer; a woman who performs black magic; a very nasty woman. Emma is planning on dressing as a witch for Halloween.

whine (v) – to complain; to speak in a complaining tone. If Greg starts to whine about his job again, just tell him you don’t want to hear it.
wine (n) – drink made from fermented grapes. Would you like a glass of red wine with your dinner?

whose (adj) – the possessive forms of who and which. Whose jacket is this?
who’s (contraction) – short for who is. Who’s coming with me to the movies?

wood (n) – material made from trees; the hard substance found underneath the bark of trees. This windows are made entirely of wood.
Would (v) – past tense of will; used to express desire, a wish, or an intent. I would love to take a few weeks off and travel around Europe.

waste (v & n) – to use up inefficiently; to throw away; unused material; trash; sewage. Don’t waste your time surfing the web instead of doing your homework.
waist (n) – the line around the middle of the body, just above the hips; the top portion of a pair of pants that fits around the stomach. These pants are too tight in the waist.

weather (n) – the combination of temperature, winds, precipitation, and other conditions. Let’s take a walk while the weather is still good.
weather (v) - to endure; to survive hardships. If you weather this visit from your in-laws, you’ll be prepared to weather just about anything.
whether (conj) – used in questions to introduce an alternative or alternatives; either. I need to know whether or not you’re coming to the wedding.

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