In a previous post we looked at homophones, i.e. words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of their spelling, origin, etc., e.g. there, their and they’re.
Another group of words that can cause particular confusion are homonyms, i.e. words that share the same pronunciation and the same spelling but have different meanings, e.g. bank (where you keep your money (if it’s not under the mattress!)) and bank (the land alongside or sloping down to a river or lake).
Many words in English have more than one meaning. Learning these meanings is an effective way of building your vocabulary.
My Blackberry Is Not Working! – The One Ronnie, Preview – BBC One – YouTube
Below you can see the words from the sketch with both definitions.blackberry – a small fruit / a brand of smartphone
juice – a liquid / electricity
frozen – rigid with ice / temporarily locked computer system
orange – a fruit / a telephone network
egg[s] box – a container for eggs / a video game console
black spot – a disease of plants / an area with no telephone network
date – a fruit / an appointment
apple – a fruit / a personal computer
dongle – a little USB-stick-sized device / an ironic reference
NB eggs box (normally pronounced egg box) is, if anything, actually a homophone. Here, of course, referring to an a video game console from Microsoft.
And here is a 1976 version of the sketch.
This sketch plays with both homonyms and homophones, as well as further puns.four candles – fork handles
plugs – sink plug / electric plug
saw tips (a protective cover) / sore tips
Hoes (a garden tool) / Hose (tubing) / Os (letters)
Ps (letters) / peas (vegetable)
pumps (for air) / pumps (trainers)
to have someone on – try to make someone believe something that is untrue, esp. as a jokeWORKSHEETS Homonyms #1 Homonyms #2 Answers – Homonyms #1 Answers – Homonyms #2