Homophones Demand 'Sound' Choices

Rob Kyff on

Did you hear about the perfume maker whose business made a lot of "scents" ... or was that "sense" ... or even "cents"?

"Scents," "sense" and "cents" are triple homophones -- three words that sound alike but differ in meaning or derivation or spelling. In this case, either "scents," "sense" or "cents" makes ... well, sense.

But in most contexts only one homophone is the right choice. Can you select the correct word from these triple-threats?

No. 1: The chef used a (pare, pear, pair) of knives to (pare, pear, pair) the skin from a ripe (pare, pear, pair).

No. 2: If the peasants fail to (meat, meet, mete) their quotas for production of (meat, meet, mete), the king will (meat, meet, mete) out punishment.

No. 3: To explain the mishap at the construction (cite, sight, site), the worker plans to (cite, sight, site) her poor (cite, sight, site).


No. 4: Standing atop the mother (load, lode, lowed) of silver, the oxen pulling a heavy (load, lode, lowed) of ore (load, lode, lowed).

No. 5: The unlucky prospector sought a (vain, vane, vein) of silver near the weather (vain, vane, vein) in (vain, vane, vein).

No. 6: The aliens' new death (raise, rays, raze) will (raise, rays, raze) their ability to (raise, rays, raze) our cities.

No. 7: The (sear, seer, sere) predicted the sun would (sear, seer, sere) the leaves that were already (sear, seer, sere).


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