Why is English so hard to learn?
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Improve your pronunciation with heteronyms (words that are spelled the same but sound different).
Included in this article is an audio file of a native speaker reading each sentence correctly.
1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
- bandage – material used to help protect an injury
- wound (v) – past tense of “wind,” meaning movement in a circular motion, wrap
- wound (n) – an injury
2. The farm was used to produce produce.
- produce (v) – make or manufacture
- produce (n) – things that have been grown on a farm: fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc..
3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
- dump – a place for depositing trash
- refuse (v) – not willing to accept
- refuse (n) – trash
4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
- polish (v) – to make the surface of something smooth and shiny by rubbing it
- Polish (n) – something or someone from Poland.
5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
- lead (v) – to organize and direct, to be in command
- lead (n) – a type of metal, used in bullets.
6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
- desert (v) – to leave or abandon in a disloyal way
- dessert (n) – a sweet food eaten at the end of a meal
- desert (v) – a place with little rain or snowfall.
7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
- no time like the present – better to do something now than leave it for later
- present (v) – to give something to someone
- present (n) – a gift.
8. At the army base, a bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
- bass (n) – a type of fish
- bass (n) – an instrument of the lowest range
- drum – a percussion instrument.
9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
- dove (n) – a white bird, often used as a sign of peace
- dove (v) – past tense of dive, to jump head first into something.
10. I did not object to the object.
- object (v) – to disapprove or disagree
- object (n) – a material thing that can be seen and touched.
11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
- invalid (v) – not valid, not legally acceptable
- invalid (n) – a person made weak or disabled by illness or injury
12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
- row (n) – a line of things, people, animals, etc. arranged next to each other
- oarsmen - plural of oarsman - a person who rows a boat, especially in competitions
- row (v) – to cause a boat to move through water by pushing against the water with oars (= poles with flat ends)
13. They were too close to the door to close it.
- close (adj) – a short distance away from something
- close (v) – shut
14. A buck does funny things when does are present.
- buck – a male deer
- does (v) – to perform an action
- does (n) – female deer.
15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into the sewer.
- sewer – someone who makes clothes using needles and thread
- sewer (line) – pipes used to carry human waste.
16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
- sow (n) – a pig
- sow (v) – to plant.
17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
- wind (n) – the natural movement of the air
- wind (v) – to move in a circular or twisting way
18. After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
- number (n) – an unspecific amount (1, 3, 6, 10, 15…)
- jaw – the bone structure of the mouth and teeth
- number (adj) – less able to feel sensation.
19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
- tear (n) – a rip, hole, or split
- tear (n) – what leaves your eyes when you cry
- shed a tear – when you cry only one tear
20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
- subject (v) – to cause or force someone to do something
- subject (n) – a person or thing that is being discussed
21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
- intimate (v) – to make clear what you think or want without saying it directly
- intimate (adj) – having a very close friendship or personal or sexual relationship
22. I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.
- evening (n) – the part of the day between the end of the afternoon and night
- evening (v) – present participle of even (sth) out - to become equal, or to make something equal
HOMONYMS are words that sound alike but have different meanings. Homophones are a type of homonym that also sound alike and have different meanings, but have different spellings.
HOMOGRAPHS are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. Heteronyms are a type of homograph that are also spelled the same and have different meanings, but sound different.
WORDS THAT BOTH SOUND THE SAME AND ARE SPELLED THE SAME are both homonyms (same sound) and homographs (same spelling). Example: lie (untruth) and lie (prone); fair (county fair), fair (reasonable).