ENGLISH BLOG CLUB
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary. I’m Neil.
And I’m Sophie. Hi, Neil, I’ve got a question for you.
What’s black and white and read all over?
What’s black and white, and red all over? I don’t know that. Go on, tell me…
– I see… so it wasn't the colour red, but read [/red/] as in the past
form of read [/ri:d/]. White paper, black writing and the ‘read all
over’ bit means people read it. Very good, Sophie. You should go into
I’m not too sure about that, Neil.
Sorry for the bad joke everyone, but words that sound the same but have
different meanings is actually our topic for today’s show.
right – homophones, words that sound the same but have different
spellings and different meanings… Let’s listen to Mark and Jane.
Mark’s just had an accident in the kitchen.
And here’s a question for you to think about while you listen: what has Mark got on his jeans?
What’s wrong, Mark? You look really angry.
What’s wrong, Jane?! Can’t you see? I’ve got flour all over my jeans.
You’ve got a flower on your jeans? I didn’t know you liked pretty things…
Not a flower, Jane. Flour! Look.
Ahh, Mark! You’re making me a birthday cake. Ahh…
So, that’s Mark and Jane.
And we asked you what Mark had got on his jeans.
And of course, the answer was flour. The kind of flour you use to make bread and cakes. And flour is spelt f-l-o-u-r.
thought it was a different kind of flower, f-l-o-w-e-r, the brightly
coloured and sweet-smelling plant you might have in your garden.
right, flour, f-l-o-u-r, and flower, f-l-o-w-e-r, are homophones –
words that sound the same, but have different spellings and different
meanings. Now, homophones can be difficult to learn, and the reason is
because they sound exactly the same.
That’s right. And here are some more examples…
Mail, m-a-i-l, meaning letters and parcels you send in the post, and male, m-a-l-e, the opposite of female.
And here’s another one: right, r-i-g-h-t, the opposite of left, and write, w-r-i-t-e, like write a letter.
Here’s one: peace, p-e-a-c-e, when it’s quiet and calm, and piece, p-i-e-c-e, a part of something – a piece of cake!
one more: tail, t-a-i-l, the long, narrow part that sticks out of the
back of an animal's body and tale, t-a-l-e, a kind of story. What’s your
favourite fairy tale, Neil?
Well, I really like The Emperor’s New Clothes. I think it’s really relevant still today. Even for grown-ups.
It’s a great story.
You’re listening to bbclearningenglish.com.
And we’re talking about homophones.
That’s words which are spelt differently and have different meanings, but sound the same.
now it’s time for a quiz. I’m going to read a sentence with one of the
homophones from today’s show. Try to spell the word correctly as you
listen and Sophie will tell you the answers afterwards.
Are you ready? Number one. Ben gave his girlfriend a flower for Valentine’s Day. Now how do you spell flower there?
Unless she wanted to bake bread, he gave her a flower, f-l-o-w-e-r.
Correct. Well done if you got that one right. Number two. The dog is wagging its tail. How do you spell tail?
This is part of an animal’s body, so it’s t-a-i-l.
well done if you got that one at home. Finally: The postman put the
letters on the table on the right. How do you spell right?
The table’s on the right, not on the left, so it’s r-i-g-h-t.
Well done to everyone at home who got those right.
that almost brings us to the end of the programme. But before we go,
here’s today’s top tip for learning vocabulary. Homophones are difficult
to spell correctly when you hear them because they sound the same. So,
if you think a word might be a homophone, read or listen to the words
around it very carefully. That will help you get a better idea what word
it is and how to spell it.
There’s more about homophones at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.
Session Vocabulary Example
the colour. 'I bought a red dress to wear at the party.'
the past of read. 'I read that book last year.'
the main ingredient in bread. 'I need half a kilo of flour for this recipe'.
the brightly coloured and sweet-smelling part of a plant. 'My favourite flowers are roses.'
letters and parcels you send in the post. 'I haven't opened my mail yet.'
the opposite of female. 'This hospital has separate male and female wards.'
the opposite of left. 'Most people are right-handed.'
write a letter. 'I write to my sister in America every week.'
quiet and calm. 'The war continued for several months while the peace agreement was finalised.'
a part of something. 'Would you like a piece of cake?'
the long, narrow part that sticks out of the back of an animal's body. 'Cats use their tails to help them balance.'
a kind of story. 'My favourite fairy tale is Sleeping Beauty.'
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