We’ve got 34 words that are easily confused in English due to their different meanings and pronunciation even though they’re spelled exactly the same! Let’s get to it.
First things first, these are homographs. That means that they’re words that have the same written form so they look the same on paper but they have different meanings and also different pronunciation.
34 words for the lesson:
1. CONduct conDUCT
CONduct is the way a person acts or behaves, so that’s a noun. There can be a code of conduct which is a rule that states the norms and responsibilities of a certain individual. To conDUCT someone is to organize and carry it out. For example, the scientist is conducting several experiments in her lab.
2. ATTribute attrIBute
An attribute is a characteristic or quality that someone has. Kindness is a wonderful attribute to have. Now the verb, attrIBute means that you treat something as being caused by something. For example, she attributes her success in languages to having a good ear.
3. COMbat comBAT
COMbat is a physical battle or nonviolent conflict. But the verb form, to comBAT something is to take action to prevent or reduce something bad or undesirable. To combat the spread of a disease, means you’re on a mission to reduce the disease.
4. CONflict conFLICT
CONflict is an argument or disagreement that’s generally prolonged. The conflict between working to pay the bills and working for enjoyment. But the verb, to conFLICT means to clash or be incompatible with something. Two people’s interests might conflict at times, meaning they don’t have the same shared interest.
5. CONtest conTEST
A contest is a competition between two or more people, where there’s a prize at the end. For example, a Spelling Bee is a spelling contest. But to conTEST something means to dispute or oppose something. He contested the issue.
6. CONtract conTRACT
A contract is a legal agreement between two or more people. For example, you sign a contract for work. To conTRACT something means you catch it. For example, he contracted the flu. But as a verb it can also mean muscles become shorter and tighter, for example during strength workouts we contract our muscles.
7. DEcrease deCREASE
A decrease in something is lowering something. So a decrease in the population. But to decrease something is to actively lower something. We might decrease our sugar intake to be healthier.
8. EScort esCORT
An EScort is something who accompanies someone at a social event or for protection. For example, her older brother who’s a retired cop was her escort for at the Met Gala this year. To escort someone means to accompany someone. She escorted her best friend back to her AirBnB so she wouldn’t get lost.
9. IMpact imPACT
IMpact is effect or influence of something. This book made a great impact on me as a child you could say. But to imPACT something or someone is to have a strong effect or influence on them. For example, your High School teacher probably impacted your education in some way.
10. INcrease inCREASE
An INcrease is when something goes up. An increase in the population of tigers. To inCREASE something is to actively make it bigger. For example, people interested in building muscle want to increase their muscle mass and strength.
11. INsult inSULT
An INsult is something that is rude or hurtful. The rude person hurled insults at them for no reason. To inSULT someone is to be disrespectful. It’s important not to insult others when giving constructive criticism.
12. OBject obJECT
An object is a thing. For example, what is your favorite object you possess? To obJECT means to disagree with someone. The new tenants objected to the amount of noise in the building.
13. PERmit perMIT
A permit is an official document to authorize something. For example, you need a work permit to work abroad. To perMIT something is to allow it. Her parents permitted her to have a sleepover this weekend.
14. PREsent preSENT
A present is a gift. To present is to give a presentation or meeting.
15. PROceed proCEED
PROceeds is a plural noun and it means the money that was raised during a event that usually go to a specific charity. To proCEED means to continue or carry on, it could also mean to begin a course of action. Let’s go ahead and proceed with the current plan.
16. PROgress proGRESS
PROgress is the forward movement you’re making toward an end goal or destination. The progress she’s seeing with her strength journey is enormous. To proGRESS means to go to the next level. You’ve progressed with your English which is why you’re at the Advanced level now.
17. PROject proJECT
A project is something that you’re working on. What work projects do you have at the moment? To proJECT means to make something louder. For example, you can project your voice so that people hear you better. ProJECT also means to estimate or forecast something. The company projected they’d spend 50 million on new business ventures.
18. REbel reBEL
A REbel is someone who goes against authority or norms. A famous movie with James Dean is called REbel without a Cause. To reBEL means to go against something. The children rebelled against their parents for taking away their Nintendo.
19. REfill reFILL
A REfill is to get something replenished. Sometimes, movie theaters give you free REfills of popcorn or soda. To reFILL something means to get more of. For example we need to reFILL the gas tank when it’s empty.
20. REfund reFUND
A REfund is when you get your money back. Sometimes people get tax REfunds. To reFUND someone means to give them money back. For example, you might reFUND your friend after they lend you money.
21. REject reJECT
A REject is someone who has been outcast. For example, a lot of successful people claimed to have been rejects in high school or on their sports teams. A reject can also be an insult to mean “a failure” or “a loser.” To reJECT something means to dismiss it as unacceptable, inadequate or faulty. The boss rejected the project proposal because it had a lot of typos and grammatical mistakes.
22. REpeat rePEAT
A REpeat of something means to do it again. For example, we played the album on REpeat to memorize all the lyrics. Sometimes I play songs on repeat if I really like it. To rePEAT something means to say or do again, with repetition. When you play an instrument, you repeat something over and over to get it just right.
23. SUBject subJECT
A SUBject is a something or someone being discussed. It could also be something that is studied. For example, a lot of people take English as a subject in school. To subJECT someone is to cause them to undergo a certain type of treatment. For example, the Ancient King subjected her people to a terrifying oredeal.
24. SUSpect suspect
A SUSpect is someone who is wanted for a crime they may have committed. For example this person was a suspect in the jewelry robbery. To suspect means to have a hunch or a feeling that something is some way. For example, if you suspect a gas leak, you’ll need to call the gas company right away.
25. record record
A record is a written piece or audio recording or video recording used as documentation about the past. For example, a historical record can be found in a museum. But we can also keep a written record of something when we want to measure progress. To record something is to put something is writing, take photos or videos or audio of it so that you have it. For example, I record my lessons and share them with my students.
26. wind wind
Wind as a noun is what blows through the air making weather windy. To wind is to spin something or twist it so that it can work. For example, some toys have a key in them that you wind and when you wind the key they start to move.
27. lead / lead (v)
Lead is a metal. Sometimes there are trace amounts of lead in water so it’s a good idea to use a filter. To lead is to be in charge of something. For example, this was her first time leading her team so she was a bit nervous.
28. close / close (cloze)
Close, if someone is close they are near. I’m so happy I live very close to my best friend. To close something is to shut it, meaning the opposite of open. She closed the door because it was too noisy in the hall.
29. tear (cry) / tear (rip paper)
A tear is what our eyes do when we cry or when we dice onions. Don’t shed a tear because it’s over, smile because it happened. To tear something means to rip it. The composer tears all the sheet music that is not perfect.
30. import (n) / import (v)
If something is of import it is of importance. The import of the CEO’s message is clear to the employers. An import can be an object or commodity that is being brought into a country to be sold. For example, there are a lot of imports from Europe. To import something means to bring goods into the country with the hope of selling it abroad.
31. export / export
An export is what you send to other countries for sale. To export means to ship goods or services abroad. He exports a lot of textiles to the US>
33. protest / protest
A protest is when there’s a public show of disagreement towards a decision by an authority figure. For example, there were protests in the park to voice objections to trees being cut down. To protest means to express disagreement or objection to what has been said or done. Before Matt protested, he prepared his notes so that he could remember all the facts and make a strong argument.
34. redo / redo
A redo is a do-over. It means you do something again with the hopes of making it better. To redo something is to do it over. So we can redo a redo, meaning we do the redo over again because we want to make it the best we can.
Wow that was 68 words! Good job getting through all of these homographs! Remember, it can be tricky when a word is spelled the same, looks identical but it pronounced differently and has a different meaning! Sometimes the noun and verb form are the same but they have different meanings, as you can see! Hopefully understanding these words will help you use them in your English conversation and in business!
Alright Advanced English learners, thanks for joining me in this lesson.
I encourage you to use these 38 phrases the next time you are in disagreement with someone over something. The more you practice, the more second nature it’ll become.
The full transcript of this lesson can be found on our blog, so be sure to check out advanced english dot co forward slash blog. If you prefer to listen to this lesson, check out our podcast; it's available on our website. And if you love the podcast, be sure to leave us a 5 star review, that really helps us out! See you in the next one where we’ll continue advancing your English together! Until then, keep up the awesome work.