Homophones are words that have the same pronunciation but are spelt differently, and have different meanings.

For example, “access” and “excess” are read the same way, but take note of their different spellings. While the spellings of some pairs of homophones are easy to remember, some of them do get us confused. As you read the pairs of homophones below, try to put them to memory so that you will know which one to use when you’re writing your essays (or maybe even your text messages!).

It’s vs Its

It’s: this is a contraction – it is
Its: this is a possessive pronoun

Who’s; Whose

Who’s: this is a contraction – who is
Whose: this is a possessive pronoun

You’re; Your

You’re: this is a contraction – you are
Your: this is a possessive pronoun

Weather; Whether

Weather: climate
Whether: similar meaning to ‘if’

Accept; Except

Accept: to take or receive
Except: means “but” or “exclude”

Access; Excess

Access: to be granted entry into a place
Excess: to have too much

Then; Than

Then: adverb, indicating time
Than: used to make comparisons

Compliment; Complement

Compliment: to say something nice about someone or something
Complement: something that enhances or completes

Principle; Principal

Principle: a fundamental truth
Principal: first in order of importance, or the person in charge of your school

Bear; Bare

Bear: to endure or put up with
Bare: to uncover or undress

References: ‘I’ issue 11, p. 42