The English language is filled with words that sound alike, but have different spellings and meanings. For the most part, it's easy to pick the right word to use when you're talking. However, when you have to spell out the word you want to use, that's when it gets tricky.
Words that sound alike but have different meanings are called homophones, and the English language has tons of them! To help you differentiate the most confusing ones, here's our quick guide:
1. Than vs. Then
THAN is used for comparisons: I am much older than my sister.
THEN is used to show the passage of time: I had breakfast, and then I started working on my project.
When you use the word THAN, think of the A in compArison.
When you use the word THEN, think of the E in WHEN.
2. Here vs. Hear
HERE is used to indicate a location: You may come here whenever you feel lonely.
HEAR is a verb that indicates listening: I can't hear your voice over the noise.
When you use the word HERE, think of removing the W in WHERE in order to get the word HERE.
When you use the word HEAR, think of removing the H in HEAR in order to get EAR.
3. Are vs. Our
ARE is the present tense of "to be": The cats are sleeping on the porch.
OUR is a possessive form of WE: The cats love to sleep on OUR porch.
When you use the word ARE, think of the E in BE because ARE is the present tense of be.
WHen you use the word OUR, think of the word OURS, which indicates possession.
4. Weather vs. Whether
Weather refers to the state of the atmosphere: The weather is nice and sunny this time of year.
Whether is a conjunction that introduces choices: Please tell us whether you prefer to attend the party or stay at home.
When you use the word WEATHER, think of the A, which stands for ATMOSPHERE.
When you use the word WHETHER, think of the word WHICH to remind you that it's a word about making a choice.
We hope these quick and easy guides for telling homonyms apart has been helpful. We be creating more series like these to help you tell similar words apart, so keep checking out our blog!