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15 Confused Homonym Pairs

Have you ever experienced the anxiety of wanting to use the correct word in a sentence and mistakenly used another that sounds the same? This is not a good look when writing for business. If your aim is to present a professional organisation, what impression do you think you would you give if your choice of words lessens the appearance of that professionalism?

This is where it is important to know about homonyms.

What are homonyms?

Homonyms are words that sound like other words but their spelling and meaning are different.

Examples of homonyms

The following is a list of 15 pairs of words in which the first is often mistakenly used for the second one. A short definition, which is not comprehensive, is also included for each of the words to help you distinguish which you should be using and in what context.


adabbreviation for advertisement
aideone who helps
3cannonpiece of artillery
canoncollection of works
conscienceadherence to or regard for fairness or moral strength
5councildeliberative or legislative body
counsellegal adviser
discreetmodest, prudent, unobtrusive
7flaresignal fire or light
flairstyle or talent
8forwardin the direction one is facing or travelling
forewordbrief introductory section of a book
9islea small island or peninsular
aislepassage between groups of seats
10premiera political leader
premierethe first performance of a musical or theatrical work or the first showing of a film
11principalleader of a school, or a leading person in an organisation
principlecode, idea or law
12rolllist or other document, move in a particular direction by turning over and over on an axis
rolefunction, or character or part played
13tenanta person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord
tenentsomething generally held to be true
14teama group organised to achieve a goal
teembe filled to overflowing
15troopunit of military personnel
troupegroup of performers

Do you find homonyms challenging? Share with us your challenging words.


Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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