Homograph Examples & Exercises

English language is known for its comprehensive vocabulary and complicated grammar, presents learners and even native English speakers with really many difficulties coming from its originality. One of the important languages aspects is the homograph designated as a word with common written form, but it differs in its pronunciation, origin, or meaning.

What is a Homograph?

A homograph is an example of double meaning where two separate words are spelled the same but express different meanings.

Sometimes they are pronounced differently as well. Homographs occur due to the essence of language being its evolutionary nature; words are spelt identically in modern English when they originated from different languages or when one word acquires a number of meanings within its lexical system.

Likewise, the meaning of a word such as “lead” can be to guide or to refer to something heavy. The intricacies involved are the reasons that make homographs an interesting if not complex aspect of the language skills practice.

Homograph Examples

The table below contains homograph, its meanings, parts of speech and sentences that demonstrate each usage:

HomographMeaningPart of SpeechSentence Using the Homograph
bowto bend forwardVerbShe had to bow before the queen.
bowa type of knot or ribbonNounHe wore a red bow tie.
leadto be in chargeVerbI will lead the team to victory.
leada heavy metalNounThe pipes are made of lead.
tearto ripVerbBe careful not to tear the paper.
teara droplet from the eyeNounA tear rolled down her cheek.
windto turn or twistVerbWind the clock before you go to bed.
windmovement of airNounThe wind is very strong today.
bassa type of fishNounHe caught a large bass in the lake.
bassa low sound or voiceNounThe bass in this song is powerful.
closeto shutVerbPlease close the door quietly.
closenearAdjectiveHe lives in a close proximity to the school.
dovea birdNounA white dove landed on the balcony.
dovepast tense of diveVerbShe dove into the water with elegance.
rowto propel a boatVerbWe will row across the lake.
rowa line of thingsNounShe found her seat in the third row of the theater.
sewera waste pipeNounThe sewer needs to be cleaned.
sewerone who sewsNounMy grandmother was an excellent sewer.
sowto plant seedsVerbHe plans to sow carrots this spring.
sowa female pigNounThe sow has given birth to ten piglets.
tearto ripVerbShe managed to tear her dress while climbing the fence.
teara drop of liquid from the eyeNounA single tear fell from his eye during the movie.
contentsatisfiedAdjectiveHe seemed content with the results.
contentwhat is containedNounThe content of the book is educational.
invalidnot validAdjectiveThe argument he made was invalid.
invalida person made weak by illnessNounThe old invalid relied on his caretaker.
minutesixty secondsNounI’ll be ready in one minute.
minuteextremely smallAdjectiveHe noticed a minute scratch on the lens.
polishto make shineVerbHe likes to polish his shoes every Sunday.
Polishrelating to PolandAdjectiveMy grandmother is Polish and makes excellent pierogi.
refuseto declineVerbShe refused to answer the controversial question.
refusediscarded wasteNounThe refuse from the house was picked up early in the morning.
subjecttopic of discussionNounThe subject of his talk is climate change.
subjectto cause to undergo somethingVerbThey were subjected to heavy criticism.
tearto pull apartVerbBe careful not to tear the fabric when you cut it.
teara drop of saline liquidNounA tear fell from her eye as she laughed at the joke.

Exercises on Homographs

Exercise 1: Choose the Right Word

For each sentence below, select the correct form of the homograph from the choices provided. Each homograph is used in two different contexts.

  1. Can you ___________ the team in today’s meeting since you ___________ the project discussions last week?
  2. She tried to ___________ the antique clock, hoping to hear it ___________ down at the end of the day.
  3. To _________ across the lake takes strength, especially if you are in the last __________ of a crowded theater.
  4. He decided to _________ down the old wallpaper so he wouldn’t __________ up from the dust.
  5. She wore a beautiful _________ in her hair, and her performance made the audience _________ deeply.
  6. He could not ____________ the pain any longer, nor could he __________ to leave the comfort of his home.
  7. The thief was caught on camera as he tried to __________ the jewelry made of stainless ___________.
  8. Every Sunday, she loves to ____________ the newspaper and _________ to her grandchildren.
  9. The baker will often ___________ the dough before he ___________ to make a phone call.
  10. The dog will often _____________ on the sofa, even though he knows it is a __________ that he is allowed there.

See also: List of 75 Literary Devices


  1. lead, led
  2. wind, wind
  3. row, row
  4. tear, tear
  5. bow, bow
  6. bear, bear
  7. steal, steel
  8. read, read
  9. knead, knead
  10. lie, lie

Exercise 2:

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the homograph that makes sense in meaning and context.

  1. Please____________ the door as the meeting is about to _____________.
  2. During the lecture, the historian had to _____________ his voice so that the ____________ details were clear.
  3. The musician came ____________ to perform a solo on his ____________ guitar.
  4. She used a __________ to weigh the ingredients before she began to ___________ the wall for the climbing competition.
  5. Every Halloween, the children ___________ up in costumes and ____________the house with spooky decorations.
  6. He was excited to ___________ his invention, which would soon ___________ new opportunities.
  7. In winter, the roads __________ over quickly, making it hard to __________ the cake as smoothly.
  8. The coach had to ___________ hard to keep the ___________ running on time.
  9. The artist decided to __________ a portrait using the ___________ from the lottery as inspiration.
  10. It’s crucial to ____________ to unfair policies before you become an ___________ of scrutiny.

See also: Figures of Speech Examples


  1. close, close
  2. project, project
  3. bass, bass
  4. scale, scale
  5. dress, dress
  6. present, present
  7. ice, ice
  8. train, train
  9. draw, draw
  10. object, object

Questions and Answers on Homographs

Q: What defines a homograph?

A: A homograph is defined as a word that is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning and sometimes a different pronunciation.

Q: Why are homographs significant in learning English?

A: Homographs illustrate the complexity of English and help learners understand the importance of context and pronunciation in communication.

Q: Can homographs be both nouns and verbs?

A: Yes, many homographs can function as multiple parts of speech, including nouns and verbs, depending on their usage in sentences.

Q: Do homographs always have different pronunciations?

A: Not always. Some homographs share the same pronunciation while others do not, depending on their etymological origins and usage.

Homograph Examples
Homograph Examples

See also: Literary Devices That Start with H

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