conTENT with online CONtent: Useful Materials on Heteronyms

Some useful links for us teachers to consider:

  • The Heteronym Homepage provides a list of words with identical spelling but different meanings when pronounced differently. The list shows pronunciation and definitions.


  • The Heteronym Page provides a more substantial list, but perhaps what is more of interest are the twenty sentences that contextualize the more common heteronyms. Example: “The garden was used to produce produce.” (Retrieved from The Heteronym Page.)


  • Home of the Heteronym is a site with greater visual appeal and a little more creativity than the others. I think one jewel here is the small collection of “heterocryptics” – riddles, in which the question and answer contextualize a pair of heteronyms. Only the question is visible at first. The user can click to either read the answer or hear the answer.


What to do with heteronyms?

  1. Use them to teach word stress, especially in the case of noun-verb pairs such as SUBject and subJECT. Read through an existing list of pairs or heteronymic sentences.
  2. Have students compose their own heteronymic sentences. You can assign pairs of words to students, copy their sentences on the board, and read the sentences as a class. Alternatively, you could challenge students to produce as many sentences as they can over the course of a week. Collect and post their sentences for other classes to read as well.
  3. Upper level students might rise to the challenge of composing a short story. To begin, you might use an existing story, such as “The Case of the Lady Who Wasn’t a Heteronymical Tale” (available on Home of the Heteronym). Omit the word pairs and make it a gapped text. Once they complete the text and understand the format, they can create their own one-paragraph narrative. Have them make it a fill-in-the-blank activity by omitting heteronyms and listing them to one side for another classmate to choose from.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. jontrich says:

    what of meaning in our question?

    1. I’m sorry. Which question were you referring to?
      Did you know you can post questions on my community forum?


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