Help With Spelling:         

25 Easily-Confused Homonym Sets Explained

sick boy with thermometer in his mouthOne great way to help with spelling skills is to  learn some of the most commonly-confused sets of homonyms in the English language.  We share 25 sets here, from patience/patients  to you're/your. 

Be sure to read our first set of 25 confusing homonyms, from allowed/aloud to passed/past, as well as the 25 sets on this page.
        Some patients require more patience
than others.Perhaps he'd feel better
if he had some help with spelling...

25 Homonym Sets  P - Y

To provide as much help with spelling as possible, for each homonym listed, we've also included its:
  • part of speech
  • a very brief definitions
  • a sentence showing its correct usage

Please note that we’ve not included every meaning, or every part of speech for each word. We’ve used the most common meanings, ones that are most often misused. Now that's real help with spelling!We used these abbreviations:

adj. – adjective   
adv. – adverb  
contr. – contraction 
n. – noun
prep. - preposition
pron. - pronoun
v. - verb

26. patience (n.) the ability to wait; The kindergarten teacher’s patience is remarkable.

patients (plural n.) people under the care of a doctor; Five patients were waiting to see the doctor.

27. peace (n.) absence of war; The longtime peace between two countries was broken by a single bullet.

      piece (n.) a portion of something; He asked for just one piece of peach pie.

28. plain (adj.) clear; It was plain to everyone in the crowd that the singer had talent.

      plane (n.) a carpenter’s tool, an airborne vehicle, or a flat surface; The wood carver used his plane to make the table top very smooth.

29. presence (n.) the state of existing in a place Her presence was requested at the party.

      presents (plural n.) gifts; Children love to open presents on their birthdays. 

30. principal (n.) most important, or the leader of a school; The principal wrote a new homework policy.

      principle (n.) basic truth or law; Throughout life, it is wise to adhere to one’s principles.

31. rain (n.) precipitation; The rain poured down all day. (v.) drizzle, shower; The weatherman says it will rain tomorrow.

      reign (n.) time in power; The king’s reign was very brief.  (v.) to rule; How long will the Queen reign?

rein (n.) a strap to control an animal; Pull on
the  reins when you want the horse to stop.

32. raise (v.) to build up; Let’s raise the sign a bit higher so it can be read more easily.

      raze (v.) to tear down; The city plans to raze the vacant building.

33. right (adj.) correct; The student gave the right answer to the math question..

      write (v.) to make letters; Please write you name at the top of the page.

Remember that using homonyms correctly is a great way to help with spelling skills, no matter your age.

34. road (n.) driving surface; She had difficulty keeping her car on the slippery road.

      rode (v.) past tense of ride; We rode the bus for thirty minutes to get across town.

35. sail (v.) travel in a boat; We plan to sail across the bay.

     sale (n.) a deal or transaction; The store had a special sale on blue jeans.

36. scene (n.) the place where an event occurs; A criminal sometimes returns to the scene of the crime. 

    seen (v.) past participle of see; I’ve never seen so many flies!

 37. soar (v.) fly; An eagle can soar higher than many other birds.

      sore (adj.) painful; My sprained knee is very sore.

38. sole (adj.) only; My dad was the sole survivor of the plane crash.  (n.) the bottom part of a foot or shoe; There's a hole in the sole of my old boot.

      soul (n.) the spiritual part, or character, of a person; Those old hymns always comfort my soul.

 39. stair (n.) step; The bottom stair is broken, so please be careful when you go down.

      stare (v.) to look intently in one place; I couldn’t help but stare at the legless man.

40. stationary (adj.) unmoving; You should keep the fractured finger stationary for one week.

      stationery (n.) writing paper; The lawyer wrote the letter on her business stationery.

41. stake (n.) a thin pointed stick or post that is driven into the ground; Since we were missing a stake, we couldn’t finish putting up the tent.

      steak (n.) a piece of meat or fish; He ordered a sirloin steak and baked potato.

To help with spelling skills,  there are many, many more sets of homonyms that you may want to study, too.42. steal (v.) to take something without permission; Some children steal money from their mother's purses.

      steel  (n.) a strong metal made of iron and carbon; Many buildings are constructed with steel frames.

 43. tail (n.) the rear part of an animal’s body; My dog wags its tail when he’s happy.

      tale (n.) a story; One popular fairy tale is about a giant, a beanstalk and a boy  named Jack.

 44. their (pron.) belong to them; Their house is always clean and tidy.

      there (adv.) at that place; Please put the groceries over there.

      they’re (contr.) they are; They’re going to Paris for vacation.

45. threw (v.) past tense of throw; The kids threw the stones into the stream.

      through (prep.) movement from one side to, or past, the other side; Let’s walk all the way through the dark tunnel together.

To test your own homonym handling, play our online-spelling-games.

46. to (prep.) toward; We drove to the theater.

      too (adv.) also; Jimmy likes pizza, too.

      two (n.) a symbol for 1 plus 1; Susan spun a two in the board game.

47. waist (n.) the middle of the body; The belt was too large for her small waist.

      waste (n.) discarded material; The factory’s waste products were dumped in the landfill.

48. weak (adj.) not strong; The young boy was too weak to lift the box of books.

     week (n.) a seven-day period; The worker went on vacation for one week.

49. who’s (contr.) who is or who has; Who’s been drinking my soda?

      whose (pron.) possessive form of who; Does anyone know whose coat is this one?

50. your (pron.) possessive form of you; It’s your turn to go first.

      you’re (contr.) you are; You’re the person I want to hire.

Remember to print out and use our pdf of this list 
for help with spelling for the whole family!

*Find more activities aligned to the Common Core State Standards here.

More Resources for Help With Spelling

Your students can improve spelling skills and have fun when you use some of our spelling worksheets and spelling word games.

You'll also find some great ideas to help with spelling in our Spelling Lessons .

Go to more info about Common Core State Standards

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Here's a bit of fun, 
along with real help
with spelling...

How many homonym
mistakes do you see
in this sentence?

The principle said we
should take the
students to the
Capital next weak.

Scroll down below the picture for the asnwer...


improve spelling - sail
Is there a sale on sails?

Here's the corrected sentence:

The principal said
we should take the
students to the
Capitol next week.