Confused Words Exercise (200)

Homophones are words that are pronounced the same, but have different meanings. Choose the correct word from the pairs offered for each of the following sentences.

  • The irritating woman asked Tom if he were _____ to show her around Downton Abbey.

  • _____ skills enable musicians to identify, solely by hearing, pitches, intervals, melody, chords, rhythms, and other basic musical elements.

  • Ishmael secured a ____ on the Pequod, a whaling vessel bound for a lengthy voyage.

  • The captain stood in the ___ clasping a steel harpoon tipped with a double-edged razor-sharp point.

  • The director told everyone to take a fifteen-minute _____ before continuing with the rehearsal.

Answers and Explanations

1. The irritating woman asked Tom if he were allowed to show her around Downton Abbey.

Allowed means "permitted." Aloud means "out loud, so as to be heard, for example: She spoke the words aloud.

2. Aural skills enable musicians to identify, solely by hearing, pitches, intervals, melody, chords, rhythms, and other basic musical elements.

Aural means "relating to the ears or hearing. Oral means "relating to the mouth," For example: She must undergo oral surgery to remove a cyst caused by an infected tooth.

3. Ishmael secured a berth on the Pequod, a whaling vessel bound for a lengthy voyage.

A berth is a bunk or sleeping place on a ship. By extension, it means "employment on a ship." Birth refers to the emergence of a baby from the womb.

4. The captain stood in the bow clasping a steel harpoon tipped with a double-edged razor-sharp point.

In the context of boats and ships, bow is pronounced /bow/ and refers to the front end of the vessel. Bough, also pronounced /bow/ is the branch of a tree or large plant, for example: The wind dislodged the last leaf clinging to the bough of the dogwood.

5. The director told everyone to take a fifteen-minute break before continuing with the rehearsal.

As a verb, break means "to separate into pieces." As a noun, "a break" is a pause in work. A brake is a device for stopping a vehicle. As a verb, brake means "to stop" or "to apply the brakes of a vehicle."

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