English, as a language, has many barriers that foreign students must overcome. One of these barriers, which really baffles new learners, is words which sound the same but which actually have different meanings or uses. In order to truly develop a fluent tongue it is important to fully understand the difference between each word.
They sound the same, but don’t let that fool you!
One of the biggest challenges that foreign speakers face is the difference between very similar words which actually have different uses. A perfect example of this would be the difference between “Your and “You’re”. The sentence has the determining factor for whether the writer should use “your” or “you’re”.
Whenever the word “you’re” or “your” is said, I always like to break the word “you’re” down into “you are” to see whether that would work in the context of the sentence. For example, if someone says “when we go down the slide, you’re going first”. If you break it down the sentence becomes “when we go down the slide, you are going first”. To put this point into perspective you cannot break down the sentence “I’m going to see your friend at the restaurant tonight”. If you try to break it down it doesn’t work as the sentence will be “I’m going to see you are friend at the restaurant tonight”, which doesn’t make sense.
“Your” and “You’re” are not the only examples of words which sound the same but are actually different. We also have “There”, “Their” and “They’re” just to really confuse English Learners. All three sound exactly the same, however the use, again, depends on the context of the sentence. The term “Their” comes from the pronoun they, and can often be used to replace “His” and “Hers”, whereas the word “There” is used to mean in or at that place. The final variation, “They’re”, is a contraction of the words “they” and “are”, and is used similar to “You’re”. Usually, if you can replace “they’re” with “they are” in the same sentence, and it still makes sense, then you are using it correctly.
My final example of words which sound the same, but which have different meanings or uses are, “To”, “Two”, and “Too”. It’s very common to get the 3 confused, however, it is straight forward enough once you know how to use each variation. Starting with “Two”, this variation is the written form of the number 2 and is only used to replace the number. The difference between the uses of “To” and “Too” is a little more tricky. What I like to do is read the sentence to myself and try stressing the variation of “To” or “Too”. If the word is meant to be “to,” it will sound odd if stressed, whereas, the term “Too” can be emphasized without sounding too unusual.
If you can conquer the above words which sound the same but which are actually different, then you are on the fast-track lane to fluent English speaking.
If you can think of any other English words which sound the same but are different, then why not share in the comments below. If you would like to develop your English skills further, then why not think about enrolling on an English course at LTC’s English School in Eastbourne, our selection of English Courses are designed to excel your English Language skills, enabling you to develop a perfect understanding of the English Language right from the word go, discover more by contacting us today.