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Note 145 – What are homographs?

“Homographs are words with the same spelling but different meanings” and they can sometimes sound different too (according to Bernard C Lamb in his book The Queen’s English).  ‘Homo’ means the same and ‘graph’ means picture or drawing – to remember this, imagine the same picture or drawing. 

Examples: think about the word ‘row’ – it can rhyme with ‘go’ and also with ‘cow’ as follows:

  1. The word row which rhymes with go – you can row with your oars as in “row row row your boat….” and line things up as in “and little maids all in a row…”
  2. The version or row which rhymes with cow – as in ‘they row (have a quarrel) with each other all the time’.

Other examples of homographs:

  • The word wind as in “the wind blew” is spelt the same as “I need to wind up my manual clock”
  • The word tear as in “I shed a tear today” is spelt the same as “I tear up my bank statements after five years”

As a writer, you have to be clear which meaning you are using otherwise it could get very confusing.

This blog forms part of my writing challenge. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to receive my daily blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. Just click ‘sign me up’ on the home page. Alternatively you can follow my blogs on Twitter!/madeirasandra or my new ‘Tips and Luxuries’ Facebook page. Requests for future blogs (punctuation/grammar/writing tips) are always welcome.

Until tomorrow…


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Reference list:

Bernard C. Lamb The Queen’s English (2010), UK


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer



  1. Pingback: Note 147 – What are heterophones? « My writing challenge - September 24, 2011

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