How to Tell Homographs Apart

Here are some strategies to tell homographs apart.


Consider the context in which the word is used. The surrounding words, the overall sentence, and the broader context can provide clues about the intended meaning of the homograph.

Example: "The bow of the ship pointed east." vs. "She tied a bow on the gift."


Some homographs have different pronunciations based on their meanings. Pay attention to how people pronounce the word in a sentence to determine its intended meaning.

Example: "Tear" (to rip) is pronounced like "tair," while "Tear" (a drop from the eye) is pronounced like "teer."

Part of speech

Consider the part of speech of the homograph. Words that share the same spelling but function as different parts of speech are often homographs.

Example: "Lead" (to guide) is a verb, while "Lead" (a heavy metal) is a noun.

Word origin

Understanding the origin of the words can sometimes help in distinguishing homographs. Words with different origins but the same spelling may have distinct meanings.

Example: "Bass" (a type of fish) is pronounced like "bass," while "Bass" (the lowest male singing voice) is pronounced like "base."


Refer to dictionaries or other reliable sources to check the definitions of the homographs. Understanding the precise meanings can help you use the correct word in the right context.

Example: "Tire" (to exhaust) vs. "Tire" (a rubber covering on a wheel).

Common usage

Be aware of how these words are commonly used in everyday language. Often, one meaning of a homograph is more common than the other.

Example: "Row" (a noisy argument) vs. "Row" (a line of things).

Listening skills

Developing strong listening skills can help you discern the correct homograph in spoken language, especially in situations where the spelling isn't evident.


Regular practice with homographs through reading and writing can improve your child’s ability to use them correctly. Exercises or quizzes focused on homographs can be helpful.


We have sets of worksheets for students to practice putting homographs in sentences and finding the definitions of homographs.

Homograph words in sentences

Students are provided with two sentences that use the same spelled word with two different meanings. They are asked to write the appropriate words in the sentences.

Homographs in sentences worksheets

Homograph definitions

Students are asked to link definitions to homograph words in these worksheets.

Homograph definitions worksheets

Become a Member

This content is available to members only.

Join K5 to save time, skip ads and access more content. Learn More