20 most common ‘Words often confused’ in English

By Shivam

If you are new here please read this first.

I really liked the ‘desert’ at the party.


How can someone like a desert at a party?

Oops! I made a mistake up there.

It should have been ‘dessert’ in the above sentence which is the sweet course eaten at the end of the meal.

English pronunciation can be quite weird sometimes, isn’t it?

It is for this reason that not only non-natives, but also a native English speaker gets confused with its usage sometimes, and hence they are often referred as  ‘Words Often Confused’ or ‘Homophones’.

Hey to everyone out there,

Welcome back again to English Harmony and I hope you are all doing good. So today we will learn about ‘Homophones’, which are also known as ‘Words often confused’.

What are Homophones?

Homophones are the words that have exactly the same pronunciation but different meaning. The root of the word ‘Homo’ means ‘same’, while ‘phone’ means sound. Be it a non-native or native, people get confused with these homophones because of the same pronunciation; so you see, you are not alone. There is no doubt ‘practice makes a man perfect’, and the same goes with learning homophones. They are not that easy, but with a regular practice and proper learning, it will be a piece of cake for you.

So without further ado, let’s get down to the business and see some of the most common homophones in English:

Accept/ Except

Accept (verb): consent to receive or undertake.
Example: I accepted his proposal for the meeting this weekend.
Except (Preposition): not including, other than.
Example: Everyone came to my birthday party, except Ben.

Advice/ Advise

Advice (noun): guidance or recommendation about what someone should do.
Example: You should always follow his advice if you want to improve your game.
Advise (verb): recommend that someone should do something.
Example: He advised his brother not to be in the bad company of rogues.

Ate/ Eight

Ate (verb): The past form of ‘eat’.
Example: I ate my lunch after I came from school.
Eight (noun): The number between seven and nine.
Example: There are eight rooms in our house.

Bear/ bare

Bare (adjective):  not clothed or covered.
Example: He bared his chest to show his scar.
Bear (noun): a large, heavy mammal with thick fur and very soft tail.
Example: I saw a black bear in the zoo yesterday.

Desert/ dessert

Desert (noun): a waterless area of land with little or no vegetation typically covered with sand.
Example: Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world.
Dessert (noun): the sweet course eaten at the end of the meal.
Example: I don’t think a meal is complete without a dessert.

Deer/ dear

Deer (noun): a hoofed animal, the male of which usually has antlers.
Example: I saw a deer on a roadside while dropping Joe to school.
Dear (Adjective): regarded with deep affection
Example: “God bless you my dear son”, said the church father.

Die/ dye

Die (verb): to stop living.
Example: His uncle died in a car accident.
Dye (noun): natural or synthetic substance used to color something.
Example: He bought a dye for just 40 cents.

Band/ banned

Band (noun): a flat, thin strip or loop of material used as a fastener or as decoration.
Example: John gave Emma a friendship band on her birthday.
Banned (verb): past form of the ban.
Example: Alcohol has been banned for some days in some of the cities due to the increasing number of accidents.

Haul/ hall

Haul (verb): To pull or drag something with effort.
Example: He hauled his bike out of the shed.
Hall (noun): the room or space just inside the front entrance of a house.
Example: The students were ordered to assemble in the hall so admit cards could be distributed.

Higher/ hire

Higher (adjective): the comparative degree of high.
Example: The prices of these products go higher every day.
Hire (verb): pay to be allowed to use something for an agreed period.
Example: I can’t say for sure if they will hire you or not.

How many of them did you know?

A few?

Or all?

I hope you would have found this article useful and easy to learn. Make sure you learn their meanings off by heart so you never get confused down the line.

Lemme know in the comment section below about your views and suggestions and keep learning and improving.

In case you wanna give my personal blog ‘Your English Vocabulary’ a knock, you are always welcome.

Till then, take care and?


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  • Dustin Conover

    Great article! In the interest of correctness, I wanted to mention that three of the word pairs listed are not homophones as the words are pronounced differently from one another.

    In ‘accept/except’, the initial vowels are different. For ‘accept’, the initial vowel is the same as ‘ant’ and ‘acknowledge’. For ‘except’, the initial vowel is the same as ‘end’ and ‘executive’.

    In ‘advice/advise’, the sounds represented by the ‘c’ and ‘s’ in each word differs. In ‘advice’, the ‘c’ is the unvoiced alveolar sibilant, pronounced like the initial consonant sound in ‘sing’ or ‘sea’. In ‘advise’, the ‘s’ is the voiced alveolar sibilant, pronounced like the initial consonant sound in ‘zoo’ or ‘zebra’.

    In the final case of ‘desert/dessert’, the difference is in syllable stress and the length of the voiced alveolar sibilant represented by ‘s’ and ‘ss’ in the words–‘DEZ-ert’ versus ‘dez-ZERT’ (caps used to represent the stressed syllables).

    Confusing the pronunciations of ‘accept/except’ would likely be ignored or missed by most American English speakers, who frequently confuse the two words, too. However, confusing the pronunciations of ‘advice/advise’ and ‘desert/dessert’ would be immediately picked up by any native speaker, as the pronunciations are considered significantly different.

  • Shivam Singh

    Thank you so much Masudur, I am glad you liked it:))

  • Masudur Rahman

    wow!that’s really great.I have enjoyed it most.I’ve also noted all the important clue.Thank you so much for this.