[Whistles] Wow, what a good book.
I should buy another one of these.
Oh, hi. James from engVid.
I was just looking at my book, here, and it seems E has a question.
Let's go take a look.
So, what's that, E?
"I won the race?", "I one the race?" - you don't know the difference?
Do you know the difference?
Today we're going to work on homophones.
I'm going to explain what they are and give you some very common examples that you've
probably made mistakes with, but I'm going to help you today to clear them up.
Let's go to the board.
Oh, I said "homophones", and I know there are some of you out there that are grammar
nerds, and you're going to say: "Oh, homophones, homograms, dah, dah."
I'm going to break it down and say: When we talk about "homo" it means the same; the same.
And in this case, a "homograph" is something that is written graphic.
It is written like a picture.
And when we say "homophone", I'm sure you have a cellphone, like, you know, cellphone.
We call it a "phone" because it's the sound.
With a cellphone, we deal with sounds; and with homographs we deal with what is written.
Today I really want to concentrate more on homophones, which are words that are going
to sound the same...
So, let's take a look: Homophones are words that sound the same, but they are different.
I forgot a period, here.
And an example would be "bare" and "bear".
Or: "whether" and "weather".
And I've had many students ask me: What's the difference.
They go: "How do you pronounce it?
I know it looks the same or almost the same."
And I say: "It sounds the same."
They go: "Why?
They mean vastly or very different things."
I go: "Yes, you're right, and I'm going to help you see the difference."
Now, the problem with a homophone, of course, is when you say it, you don't know how it's
spelt, and we use the spelling to tell us that it's a different meaning.
The secret to that is context, and I'll go through a couple of examples a little later
on and show what I mean by: If you listen to the context, you will have an idea of what
As I said: homographs are words that are written the same, but have different meanings.
But because I'm not going to go into homographs right now, I'm not going to give you the examples.
I'm going to give you the examples for the homophones, here.
And if you notice, I have something that looks like a calculator or, you know, some buttons
you can press on a dial for a phone.
And I did that because, in some of these, we can use the homophones to show or illustrate
So, let's do the first one, here.
"One" and "won".
If you noticed, E had a problem with: "I won the race?", "I one the race?"
To be honest, once again, it's a homophone; the sound is exactly the same, but the context
will tell us what the difference is.
"One" is clearly number one.
I have one friend - a number.
But when I won a race, because it's a competition, I can go: "Oh, it's 'won'."
That's our first homophone.
We did number one; let's look at number two.
Because I'm smart like that, I did "two" and "to".
In this case, "two", the number two - you know it?
One, two, three.
We have another "to", this one, here, which can be used both in an infinitive form and
"I want to buy" is an infinitive form.
"We're going to the store".
We can use that as a preposition "to"...
"To" or "from", when we're using it like that.
And this one I like as well: "too", "t-o-o".
I say this is what we call there's too many o's or it's excessive in English.
Meaning that it's more than you want.
An example is: "It's too...
My coffee is too hot; I cannot drink it."
That's the number "two".
Notice the homophone?
They all sound the same.
So, if you're going: "Well, why is he teaching us?"
It's just so you know, when you see these words, do not change how you say them; the
pronunciation is the same, but know when you're writing them or in the sentence you're saying
Well, when you're writing it down, because that's what we're really looking at - it should
be written differently for different instances.
This is for the number, this is for the preposition or infinitive, and this is for excessive - when
something's too much.
"This costs too much money; more than I want to pay."
Now let's go to number three: "your" and "you're".
These are different.
I know a lot of students have a problem; they go: "Teacher, it's the same."
Well, this is possessive.
This is a possessive pronoun: "Your car".
Well, when we're looking at this, this is a contraction for "you are".
"You're looking good today.
You're a nice guy."
So, we've got a possessive and a contraction, here.
In this case: "brake" and "break".
Some of you may not know what this means, so I'll explain it.
In your car, you have a brake, which is you press the gas - you're driving; and to slow
the car down, you put your foot on the other one - the other pedal, which is a brake.
So, if you have a pedal...
I don't know if you can see my foot.
Pushing the brake.
You're running your car, and then you need to stop - you put your foot down.
You put on the brakes.
That means to stop.
While this one, "to break" is like: I broke it.
You can break an arm, break a glass, break a leg - if you're in the movie industry.
So, they sound the same, once again, but they're written different...
Differently, so you have to listen to the context.
"Did you break the glass?", "Put on the brakes.
We're driving too fast."
Oh, sorry, that was number six.
I'm jumping around, because I'm all over the board.
But let's go to number four: "bear" and "bare".
"The bear is in the woods today - doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.
If you speak English and you're wondering about this lesson - I know, but hopefully
that makes you smile because that's, like, an old-time memory of yours.
Bear is in the woods; it's an animal.
Now, "bare", like my arms.
Rown, rown", means nothing is there; nothing is on it.
An example: If you go to the refrigerator and there is no food in your refrigerator,
your refrigerator is bare; it's empty - nothing is there.
When I go in the shower, I go bare naked; I have no clothes on.
Don't even think about it.
Stop thinking about me naked.
Actually, that might make you sick.
You should stop immediately.
But that's "bear" and "bare" sound exactly the same, but context makes them different.
Now, let's go over here, I'll go to five.
Finally, number five: "weather" and "whether".
"Weather", is it sunny?
Is it raining?
"Whether": Whether you like it or not.
Think of "if".
That's not the best example, I'm not going to go into a long explanation for "whether",
here, but you can liken it...
You can think it's similar to the word "if".
"If you like it or not.
Whether you like it or not, we're going..."
"Whether you like it or not, we're going to go."
"Whether I speak too quickly or not, you still have to learn this lesson."
That's why I said sorry; I was going too fast.
But in this case, as I said, context will help you.
It doesn't matter if you say: "The weather is nice" or "Whether he helped you or not"
- I doesn't matter.
But when you write it down...
Remember we talked about homographs, like when you write something down - that's when
it matters because some people will get these confused, and actually there are English people
who write "weather" like this on paper, because they actually don't know that this "whether"
is the correct one.
Don't be one of those people.
"Its" and "it's".
Yeah, I can understand why that's tough, because in this case, they almost look exactly the
same, so you're going: "What's the difference?"
Well, this one: "its" is a pronoun showing possession, like: "Its.
It's talking about, let's say an animal or thing - it belongs to them.
Well, this is a contraction for "it is".
They are not the same at all, so be careful when you're writing or even when you're reading
In this case, when you're reading it, you can clearly see that each one of these words
is very different, but this one is so close you might make the mistake of thinking it's
the same when they are not.
This is the contraction for: "It is something.
It is happy."
While, it's: "Its coat", referring to an object.
And it belongs that object.
Are we okay?
That's, like, similar to the word we have with "your", up here.
Don't confuse it.
Ah, and speaking of possessives and thinking of confusing words: "their", "they're", "there".
If you read British novels, you'll hear them go: "There, there.
There, there, there, now.
No, they're not saying: "Their, they're, there" because they're confused which one to read;
it's older English.
But we do have a problem, here, because "their" means "belong to": "Their house.
"They're" here, even though it's strange.
We say: "They're" very quickly - it's a contraction for: "They are".
"They are happy.
They are moving."
But they sound the same, but they're not.
It's not possessive; it's: "They are", similar to what we're doing here.
And then there's this word: "Here or there".
You're going to say: "James, did you say 'there'?"
I'm like: Depends.
Listen to the context of the sentence.
"I haven't lived there in 20 years".
"They're a nice couple.
We went to dinner with them last week".
"Their house is nice."
Context tells you the difference; the sound will not.
So, now I'm going to do my final one, which I like a lot.
Well, I don't.
It reminds me of my principal from high school, is: "principal" and "principle".
In North America, we have the person who's in charge of a high school or a public school,
we call the principal.
I hated my principal in high school, and...
I'm actually just joking.
But I thought: Mrs. Sigagne, if you're still alive, you were the best vice principal ever.
We use this word for "principal", like this.
Now, if you have moral rules that you follow, we talk about this one: "principle".
"Don't you have any principles?"
And that's, like, moral laws, like: "Always tell the truth.
Be kind to people not strong or old people.
Older people", because I'm getting old.
"What are your principles?
What are the things you believe in?"
So, when we look at this "principal" here and "principle" here, it's: Once again, they
sound the same, but you can clearly see when I write them they're different, and it's only
the context - which means it's the way in which someone says it when you're listening
will you go: "Ah, he means this 'principal'."
So, I would like to do a little bit more with it.
We've gone to my special magical calculator, and found out nine different homophones.
Let's see what we can do with them with a little bit of a quiz, and I'll throw in a
little extra for ya.
As always, after we learn something, I like to give us a little bit of a quiz.
Don't forget, after you finish watching the video, to go to engVid and actually do the
quiz we put there for you.
So, let's just see how well you've learned.
But before I go to the quiz, I give you a bonus and I'm going to give you a bonus now
of three very common homophones, then I'm going to give you some homework that you can
do when you leave this particular video.
But, first, let's look at the homophones.
You've heard that before.
"Did you hear me?
I need to go here".
"Here" is an adverb for location.
Remember we talked about: "There and there", like "There and here"?
Well, in this case, "here" - adverb of location.
"I live here."
What about "hear"?
Oops, I made a mistake.
You couldn't have hear it because I wrote it incorrectly, but what I meant to write
"Are you listening to me?
Did you hear what I said?"
So, in this case, we've got an adverb for location and we've got a verb for listening.
Then we've got "than" and "then".
"Than" is comparative: "He is taller than her.
This is sweeter than that."
But "then" is for time.
In this case, the difference is very small.
For an English person, this is very clear.
"I have known her longer than you have.
But by then we will go."
For us, it's very clear, but for some of you guys I know it's a little bit of a homophone.
Okay? "an" is what's important in "than".
If you want to hear the difference, the actual difference, and this "n" sounds like a capital
And that's the difference in sound.
Most of you don't pick it up, but I just had to let you know.
And I called it a homophone, so please, grammar nerds, don't get on me and say: "James, they're
I'm talking about students who are learning English; they have a difficult time with this,
and I want them to know what the differences are so that when they hear these words in
Remember we talked about context - when they said: "I finish dinner at 9 o'clock.
I will meet you then", you know, at 10 o'clock or something, they will go: "Okay, that must
be the time one, versus: 'This is bigger than that', which is comparative."
So, yes, it's not a perfect homophone, but I'm also look at the problems that most students
hear or have when they listen to words.
And this one: "buy", "bye", "by".
I think it's Backstreet Boys: "Bye, bye, bye".
Go check it out, you know, they have that video where they're all, like: "Bye, bye,
In this case, when we say: "buy" - use money to pay for something to get it.
"I want to buy a pen", for instance.
I will pay for it to get it.
The next one is "bye" which is a short form for "goodbye".
When someone says: "Bye-bye.
And the final one is "by" for a preposition.
"You can leave the pen by the desk."
"I got here by bus."
So these are three very common homophones, so I've given you an extra bonus.
And now I would like to go to the board and we're going to do our quiz.
You will notice that each sentence has an A or a B, and each one has a homophone, there.
What I want you to do is...
Because I'm going to read it to you, think about the context of the sentence and figure
out which one is correct.
Because remember: If I say: "weather" or "whether", it really doesn't matter; it's the same.
But now that it's written, can you use the context to understand which one would be the
correct one in a sentence?
Are you ready?
"Mr. E asked me to meet him at the park if the weather/whether was nice."
Which one should it be?
Well, it's a park.
In the park, you usually want to go when it's what?
We're talking about "weather" - this one is the correct one.
There's no: "if was nice".
It was the weather; the actual sun was out, the cloud were out, it's a nice day, it's
very warm, because the weather was nice.
Good on you.
Let's try the next one: "I need to by/buy some milk and bread today."
Were you saying goodbye to anybody?
Were you standing by something?
You want to "buy" - that means pay.
We just did this one over here.
We talked about pay for something.
"You want to buy some milk and bread."
You're doing pretty well.
Thought you were going to go for the first one, but you're smarter than that.
Let's do number three: "She told her worker there/they're/their not
open after 9pm."
It's the second time I've fixed something on the board.
This is not good.
Now, let's take a look.
"She told her worker there/they're/their not open after 9pm."
This is a tough one because you've got three choices.
Which one do you think it is?
Good for you.
Remember the contraction?
"They are not open", so it's B: "They are not open after 9pm."
We're using the contraction, there.
We're doing pretty well.
We've got two more to go.
Let's see what we can do.
"The cat licked it's/its paw after it had eaten dinner."
Wow, man, this one's tough because they almost look the same, except for that little...
That little apostrophe up there.
What would it be?
Well, I'm going to give you a little bit of a hand or a hint; I'm going to help you with
"A paw" is...
Because cats have paws.
It's like a hand for a cat, but it looks like this, so the cat is licking its paw, you know.
Yeah, you remember I said "its" as in a pronoun.
Yeah, that's right - it's not the contraction.
"Licked its paw after dinner."
Good for you.
And the final one: "It's a matter of principle/principal to always
tell the truth."
Was that my high school principal?
I don't know.
Let's think about it.
And, once again, Mrs. Sigagne, you were a great vice principal.
I love you.
I hope you're still around.
"Principle", remember we talked about moral rule or law.
Truth is a moral, that's why.
So it's not the principal of a high school; it's those laws we talked about.
Well, you know what?
You did pretty well - 5 out of 5.
Well, some of you.
Some of you probably didn't catch it, so then you're going to have to do what?
Go back to the beginning of the video, look at all of them.
Some of them are right here, and then go and try this again.
And you know we have a quiz for you to do.
But before I get to the quiz, I want you to do homework.
Like I said, I do it when I teach students - homework's important because it helps you
get a deeper understanding of what you're learning, so you don't have to keep learning
the same lessons again, but you can get better and learn even more in the future.
So, in this case, your homework is to find five more examples.
Go do the quiz, and then right there...
Even at the end of this video, you can leave a comment.
And I've actually read some of your comments, and some of you guys have done really well,
you know - following the homework I've given you, you've actually done it.
Good on you.
And it's been so good that I notice other students have gone in, and they've commented
about what they've done.
So, great, you guys are expanding your English, and I like that.
Anyway, this video has gone on long enough, so let me just say this: Go to www.eng, as
in English, vid, as in video.com (www.engvid.com) where you can find our quiz, latest videos.
Don't forget to subscribe.
Now, when you do, look around - there's going to be a "Subscribe" button.
And there's something, an important thing you must remember, there's a bell - press
that bell and you'll get the latest videos, like this one, come right to you when you
When we put it out, you'll get them; mine and others.
Anyway, once again, thank you very much.
It's been a pleasure.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
Bye, bye, bye.
Check it out.