Akeem Lasisi, email@example.com; 08163939335
Two things make the study of homonyms important in English. When smartly handled, they add to the beauty of our compositions. But when homonyms are otherwise treated, they prove that their capacity to embarrass users is great.
Homonyms are words that sound the same or alike but have different meanings. They cut across different parts of speech and other categories of English expressions. They include allowed and aloud; two and too; as well as compliment and complement.
There are some types of homonyms. These include homophones (words that sound alike and have different meanings and different spellings. Examples are fear, fair; warm, worm; and plane, plain. Another type is homographs, which are words that are spelt the same but have different meanings. These include plan (to plan a programme) and plan (plan of a building); right (opposite of left) and right (moral good or justice). Today, we shall concentrate on homophones.
As indicated earlier, homophones are words with the same sounds or very similar ones. Some authorities simply describe them as words with the same sounds but other phonetics experts know that many of them only have sounds that are close to one another but not exactly the same. For instance, dog and dug as well as how and howl are homophones but they are not pronounced exactly the same way.
Examples of homophones are ant and aunt; buy, bye and by; hour and our; there and their; his and he’s; heal and ill; cell and sell; worm and warm; father and farther; bird and bard as well as principal and principle.
Others are ball and bawl; brake and break; meat and meet; peace and piece; boarder and border as well as altar and alter.
If you want to deliberately play on words, homonyms can be useful. That is why poets and songwriters tend to indulge in them as they help in striking different kinds of rhythms. (I hope that one day we will treat figures of speech in this class.)
Consider the music in expressions such as Pick your pack and park aside and The president’s precedence speaks for him. While comedians also exploit homonyms to create jokes, literature freaks will remember the saying, ‘How many woods would the woodpecker peck if the woodpecker would peck wood?’
But homonyms are not always that friendly. They can be so tricky that they can land one in trouble, exposing one’s incompetence in English and causing failure in exams and other exercises:
I told him that the door of the cage was forty. He behaved as if he did not here me. Now the beer has run away.
What do you think is wrong with the passage? Well, the writer got the homonyms all wrong! You can thus imagine how a learned person would react to the passage and relate with the writer. I believe you know where the problems are. Instead of faulty, the person wrote forty, here instead of hear and beer instead of bear.
We may say that the errors have been deliberately compounded for the purpose of the lesson but many of us are, in reality, bad at handling homonyms. Because they can also beat even the most competent, especially when you are writing in a hurry, there is the need to pay special attention to them. The following points can be of help.
When you are writing and you get to a point you need to use a homonym, always pause to ascertain that it is the right one. For instance, when you write burst, ensure that what you intend to write is not bust.
When you are in doubt, use the dictionary. It will tell you that something is wrong when you write They will arrange the former governor who stole N20bn in court tomorrow. Arrange or arraign? The latter is the right word in the context of taking someone to court.
Create time to read through every piece you write before submitting it or passing it on to a higher authority or anyone that will act on it. When you do so, you are likely to discover where you err and probably laugh at yourself because homonymic errors are usually laughable:
I told the photographer to slap me. Snap or slap?.
Work more on spelling. This is important because many people violate homonyms simply because they are bad at spelling.
Up your game in pronunciation. Competence in grammar, phonetics and other aspects of a language goes together. So, you need to improve on your elocution. If you know how to pronounce cart very well, you are not likely to write putting the cat before the horse. If you can pronounce thank aright, you are not likely to mix it with tank. But if you are the type that pronounce fat and fart or wash and was the same way, you will often fall into trap of homonyms.
Lastly – but sure not the least – improve on your reading habit. The wider and more consistently you read, the more you will get familiar with correct spellings and usages and thus be able to handle the confusing words accurately. Answers to last week’s assignment
The man has … sacked.
(a) being (b) been (c) been being (being been).
This room is out of …(a) bind (b)bound (c) bounds (d) banned.
The chief greeted the man and … him.
(a) was commended (c) had commended (c) was commending (d) commended
Bola congratulated me … the occasion of my birthday.
(a) by (b) on (c) for (d) at
Those who got all the answers right
Suleiman Jubril, Abuja; Ihekwoaba Ndidi, Lagos; James Naomi, Bayelsa; Tayo Hunpe, Badagry; Akinfolarin Emmanuel, A.B. Adejumo, Oyo; Modupe Olubanjo, Lagos; Arepo Mustapha, Ogun; Titilola Ilori, Lagos; J.J Okey, Ibadan; Olorunda Abel, A.T. Perepou, Bayelsa; Akin Gadonu, Abeokuta; Ajayi Olusola, Chief Agborin, Akure; Oka Sylvester, Lagos; Abdullahi Zakari, Olawale Ayodeji, Lagos; Ajayi Oluwaranti, Ondo; Fisayo Durojaye, Ibadan; Prince Ademolu Adeniyi, Lagos; Garmvwa Nath, Abuja; Timothy Olufayo, Ibadan; Peter Inyang, Uyo; Oluwadarasismi Obayemi, Comfort Ekanem, Ojo Babatope, Ekiti; Eyitayo Oginni, Lagos; Ibitoye Amos, Lagos; Gani Oladipo, Kwara; Kehinde Bankole, Sylvanus Aburime, Lagos; Ayo Obayemi, Kogi; Kafar Adewale, Ibadan; Bolarinwa Nurudeen, Oyo; Are Festus, Badr Bashir, Kano; Chukwudi Iheanacho, Lagos; Fasooto Ademola, Lagos; J. Biakinogho, Moshood Afolabi; Sunday Oyesiji; Akinyemi Paul, Roy Akinyemi, Taiwo Katibi, Flora Crown, Nu Ezeogu; Jibril Dere, Akinyinka Issac and Sangodare Ayinla, Kwara.
Others who also did well
Babawale Nurudeen, Abuja; Kondosile Abdulkareem, Ogun; Anjola Enitan, Ogun; Favour Kadana, Ogun; Micheal Truth, Ekiti; Adedigba Clement, Osun; George Oluwatosin, Ogun; Bakare Tokunbo, Olabode Olamide, Sango; Adeniyi Ademidun, Ogun; Olaoye Ifeoluwa, Lagos; Toju Testimony; Fregene Toyosi, Ilorin; Orimolade Damilola, Ogun; Ken Lawson, Lagos; Ayansola Oluseyi, Oyo; Odukunmoju Tajudeen, Lagos; Samuel Abbey, Lagos; Oyebokun Ayodele, Lagos; Esiobu Chris, Akpu; Temitope Busayo, Akure; Lara Adigun, Iyanda Habeeb, Lagos; Adedipe Clement, Osun; Biodun Ogundare, Effiong Archibong, Ekiti; Amolese Halimat, Lagos; Tunde Olayiwola, Abeokuta, Ajibade Issac, Bamigboye Asafat, Ogun; Ishola Oluwatoyin, Ibadan; Ajisafe Omolola, Lagos; Adebowale Alaba, Osun; Akapo Success, Ogun; James Roberta, Boluwatife Afere, Lagos; Oluyemisi Ayinla, Ibadan; Ifeanyi Okeke, Ibadan; Olutola Anuoluwa, Lagos; Olutola Iyanuoluwa, Lagos; Henshaw Ekanem, Lagos; Uche Dede, Lagos; Omosehin Tunmise, Ogun; Kareem Muhammed, Ogun; Sesan Taiwo, Lagos; Monsuru Azeez, Ibadan; Adeliyi Adegoke, Lagos; Adegoke Aishat, Mark Ajayi, Lagos; Akande Akeem, Warri; Dare Olufade, Ondo; Japhlet B.V, Joke Wahab, Ogun; Alara Kabiru, Lagos; Soyomi Olugbenga, Ogun; Ademola Adedokun, Akure; John Adesile, Lagos; Johnny Muoka, William Ezeani, Kaduna; Monisola Ajayi, Ekiti;m Onwudiwe Godwin, Kaduna; John Bamgbose, Lagos; Kolawole Obadina, Port Harcourt; Titus Musa, Abuja; Moses Salau, Yomi Kolawole, Lagos; John Daniel, Abuja; Bamidele James, Edo; Oladipo Oladiran, Lagos; Oladipo Issac, Lagos; Ofiyesinka Ebi, Akure; Nico Ohen, Lagos; Adebgoye Adeniyi, Hussainat Dawuda, Lagos; Gbadamosi Adesuyi, Lagos; Dayo Doyin, Lagos; Olugosi Olusola, Ondo; Bashiru Alarape, Lagos; Abdwakil Ashafa, Isieg Chris, Badagry; Odewole Ojeniyi, Ogun; Ayo Olukayode, Kogi; Ulam Jediel, Lagos; Adesuyi Sunday, Ogun; Ekunode Taiwo, Sango; Ogunbiyi Oluwaseyi, Lagos; Patrick Olus, Christian Anietoh, Afolabi Rotimi, Lagos; Ifesinachi, Lagos; Friday Ishioku, Lagos; Don Benedict, Owerri; Oyebamiji Eluwunmi, Ife; Aransiola Oluwole, Kwara; Olunye Olayinka, Ogun; Kazeem Alimi, Ibadan; Oladele Joachim, Awosika Oladayo, Osun; Olatunji Kwathar, Ibadan; Adetunji Abdulmajid, Abuja; Opeyemi Aminat, Ibadan; Oluwagbenga Ishola, Kwara; and Ironkwe Alozie, Rivers State.
Others are Aderibigbe Yusuf, Damilola Esther, Kehinde Faloye, Adebayo Yetunde, Christopher Orok, Chekwube Johnson, Tajudeen Raji, Ofiyesinka Ebi, Bukola Olayeni, Ifeoma Oji, Kemi Afolabi, Maureen Onyeabor, John Udeh, Taiwo Babatunde, Fola Crown, Ogbonn Nwachukwu, Rasheed Sanusi-Dere, Azeez Sodiq and Suarau Isiaka.
1.I don’t like … manner of approach.
(a) his (b) his’ (c) he’s he is
Can you … more examples?
(a) site (b) cite (c) sight (d) sit
Give me another …,pls.
(a) pack (b) park (c) perks (d) parks
I hope you are … well over there.
(a) faring (b) fairing (c) fearing (d) farring
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