Ace English with Valerie Ng

Homonym: /ˈhɒməʊnɪm/

Homonyms - brought to you by Ace English

Definition: Homonyms abound in the English language. They are words that have the same spelling but different meanings. Sometimes, different intonations are required.

In one way, it makes things confusing, in another, it means that, because you get to learn two words at one time, you're learning English twice as fast!

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When intonations differ

  • "They recorded a record"
    • To record means to put something on a medium. A medium can be paper or electronic. So, for example, you can "place" or "register" your voice on your laptop and that becomes a recording. The noun "record" is the product of the recording. Equally, someone can write something on paper to create a paper record.

  • "To watch a river wind with the wind in my hair is a lovely feeling"
    • Meaning: When a river winds, it's making a snake-like motion.

      A wind [/'wɪnd/] is a weather element.

    • "Tears in my favourite jeans give me tears"
      • Meaning:  A tear /'teə/ can occur in fabrics, clothing and paper.

        Tears are shed when something is very sad, or even when someone is very happy. For example, "she cried tears of joy".

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    • "Yum. This Belgian praline is perfect. The chocolatier has perfected his art."
      • Meaning:  To perfect means to make something the best that it can be.

        Perfect is an adjective describing something as having the highest of quality.

    • "We strive to produce the best produce"
      • Meaning:  When "produce" is used as a verb, it means to make.

        A produce is any item for sale that is organic in nature, for example, fruits, vegetables and meat. Furniture cannot be classed as produce.

        Listen again to the audio clips for the intonations of "record". The intonations for the verbs "to produce, to record and to perfect" are the same. As well, the intonations for the nouns "produce", "record" and the adjective "perfect" are the same.

    • "For their anniversary, he presented her with a present. Their children were also present."
      • Meaning:  To present is to offer something for display. For example, "he presented a talk on the possibility of free energy."

        As a noun, a present means a gift. Present is also an adjective, meaning that something is existent within a location. For example, "Einstein was present at the first Solvay conference in 1911 along with Max Planck and Marie Curie."

    Same pronunciation, spelling and intonation

    • "The outside party went inside for the party"

        Meaning: An outside party is someone who does not belong to a group. For example, in a business, an outside party is any individual or organisation who is not part of the organisation.

        A party, of course, is also where people celebrate. It is also the noun describing a group of people.

    • "People shouldn't beat people with sticks, but they can get a medal if they beat them at running. "
      • Meaning: "Beat" can mean to "strike" or "do better" than a competitor. A "beat" is also a musical rhythm"

    • "He was swearing that he doesn't swear"
      • Meaning:  Interestingly, this word can mean that someone has the noblest of intent or is the total opposite.

        For example, a man can swear love to a woman or he can swear an oath to say he's telling the truth.

        When he swears and use curse words at someone, he's verbally attacking them and the intention is harmful.

    • "What brand of brand do you use?"
      • Meaning:  To indicate ownership of cattle, farmers brand them with a hot iron.

        A brand is also a marketing term meaning "mark" or "reputation". French speakers will know a brand as a "marque".

    • "I want to float the idea of getting a petty cash float"
      • Meaning:  "Floating an idea" is suggesting something to gauge a reaction before putting it into action.

        A petty cash float is the business term for a set amount of cash that can be made available for small company expenses.

        A float is also an ornately decorated vehicle that takes part in a parade as seen at many Mardi Gras festivals.

    • "The sight of the bear was hard to bear."
      • Meaning: Bears are beautiful creatures, but when they come close, seeing them is hard to tolerate (bear).

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