I was wondering if I could tell you something about words called "homophones".
Simple Definition of homophone
a word that is pronounced like another word but is different in meaning, origin, or spelling
Full Definition of homophone
one of two or more words pronounced alike but different in meaning or derivation or spelling (as the words to, too, and two)
a character or group of characters pronounced the same as another character or group
I know many things related to "homophones" can be found here (English Experts). However, I would like to share with you how I improved my ability to identify such words.
Firstly, I would like to say that sometimes we fail to spot homophones both when speaking/listening or reading. It happens because of vowels in Englisn can be tricky. While in Portuguese we can just find a few sounds when it comes to "a, e, i, o and u", in English the sounds are many. In fact, a lot of possibilities.
Take the words "live and leave", for instance, one can say they have the same pronunciation. Actually, they don't.
My secret was to study homophones mainly listening to music.
There is no better way to identify those words, due to the fact that we need context to tell them apart. Songs have context... So when listening to songs in English, I mean good songs, the given word is obviously in the context.
Example bear (noun) or bear (verb) vs bare (ajective)
How many songs do you know in which "bear" is "urso". Weird, isn't it?
I know in Portuguese "meu ursinho blau blau de brinquedo" an awful song from my point of view. Well, but taste is taste.
Now, we have the verb or adjective. Thinking about collocation (which words are used together), bare eye is surely bare not bear. "
"Olho nu" in our language.
I guess I talk to much...
Try to do the same. Listen to music, get the lyrics and try to identify which word is being used.
See a list of those tricky words below: