Homographs Part 2

Homographs are words that have two different pronunciations, and different meanings. The word pairs in Homographs Part 1 differ primarily in the vowel sounds. In this list, there is a change in a consonant sound rather than a vowel, and difference in the meaning is very slight.

There are not many words in this group, but it is good to know about them because there is a small change in grammar that goes with the small change in sound. In these pairs, the letter “S” alternates in voicing and switches between /s/ and /z/.


use — (verb, [s] sounds like /z/)
    “He would like to use your phone for a minute.”
use — (noun, [s] sounds like /s/)
    “I have no use for another vacuum, I already have three.”

close — (verb, [s] sounds like /z/)
    “Please close the door quietly.”
close — (adjective, [s] sounds like /s/)
    “Her house is close to mine.”

excuse — (verb, [s] sounds like /z/)
    “Could you please excuse me for a moment?”
excuse — (noun, [s] sounds like /s/)
    “I don’t want to hear another excuse for not finishing your work!”

abuse — (verb, [s] sounds like /z/)
    “They were afraid that he would try to abuse the employees.”
abuse — (noun, [s] sounds like /s/)
    “Drug abuse is often seen as a social problem.”

house — (verb, [s] sounds like /z/)
    “This apartment can house up to 6 people.”
house — (noun, [s] sounds like /s/)
    “Their house is very old.”

Similar Words

In this next pair, the vowel spelling looks different but the vowel sound is the SAME!
lose — (verb, [s] sounds like /z/)
    “I don’t want to lose any more time waiting here.”
loose — (adjective, [s] sounds like /s/)
    “Don’t sit on that chair! One of the legs is loose.”

In this pair, the change in the consonant sound is visible in the spelling.
advise — (verb, [s] sounds like /z/)
    “Could you advise us about which car is best?”
advice — (noun, [c] sounds like /s/)
    “We need some advice about which car to buy.”

Even though these words follow the same pattern of  pronunciation, they are not considered to be homographs because of the change in spelling.

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