Homonyms, Homographs and Homophones

  • Starry KnightI couldn’t figure out the brain teasers. I tried to.
  • I couldn’t figure out the brain teasers. I tried two.
  • I couldn’t figure out the brain teasers. I tried, too.

You can create a game by finding sentences where you can interchange two or more homophones, as above, or homographs or homonyms, and still have the sentence make sense. First, make sure you know the definitions:

  • A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another, but has a different meaning.
  • A homograph is a word that is spelled the same as another, but has a different meaning.
  • A homonym is a word that is both spelled the same and pronounced the same as another, but has a different meaning.

Puns

Homophones are an excellent source of word play, including puns. Though many claim to dislike puns, they have been used since ancient times for rhetorical and humorous effect.

Atheism is a non-prophet institution.

                                                               -George Carlin

xkcd boyfriend

Oronyms

Homophones involving multi-word phrases, such as “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream,” are also called oronyms. The British TV show The Two Ronnies made humorous use of oronyms in its Four Candles (fork handles) sketch.

Homonym!

Of course, it’s also possible to create a terrible game involving words that sound alike, as the TV show 30 Rock proved with their fake show Homonym (though it should actually be called Homophone):

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