English Is Tough

Besides those pesky homophones to keep straight (they’re, there, their; to, too, two, etc.), heteronyms add another layer of complexity. They’re spelled the same (or similarly) but pronounced differently and then have different meanings.

Consider these:

  • wound (to wind/wrap) / wound (injury): He wound a cloth around the wound.
  • produce (to create) / produce (fruits & vegetable): The farmer produced produce.
  • lead (to be ahead) / lead (heavy weight): Get the lead out to lead the way.
  • dove (a bird) / dove (past tense of dive): The dove dove to safety.
  • close (proximity) / close (to shut): She was not close enough to close the window.
  • sewer (waste drain pipe) / sewer (one who sews): The seamstress placed an ad for sewers and several sewer plumbers showed up.

There are countless others, but you get the picture. English is tough.

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