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Khi chúng ta học IELTS, Listening thường được đánh giá là dễ giúp thí sinh ăn điểm nhất. Thế nhưng, đừng vì thế mà xem thường độ khó của kỹ năng này. Vì sao? Vì cũng như phần thi Reading, Listening đặt ra nhiều bẫy để đánh lừa thí sinh. Hôm nay Ngoc Anh Ielts sẽ giới thiệu cho cái bạn một trong những bẫy thường gặp nhất trong phần này, đó là Homophones. Bài viết hôm nay sẽ là một trong series bài về các từ phổ biến trong IELTS Listening, hãy ghi chép lại tất tần tật những homophones này đi nhé!

Vậy, Homophones là gì?

Homophones là những từ có phát âm giống hệt nhau nhưng thường có cách viết khác nhau và ý nghĩa thì khác nhau hoàn toàn. Phân biệt với homonyms là những từ có cùng cách phát âm và cách viết nhưng lại có nghĩa khác nhau.

Trong đời sống hằng ngày, homophones được sử dụng như một cách để chơi chữ trong cách lĩnh vực văn học, âm nhạc, phim ảnh…v.v Tuy nhiên, trong IELTS Listening, homophones là một dạng bẫy nguy hiểm, đánh lạc hướng thí sinh, dẫn đến việc hiểu sai nghĩa của cả câu nói trong đoạn hội thoại.

Cần lưu ý điều gì để tránh “lọt bẫy” Homophones?

Điểm khó của phần thi IELTS Listening là bạn chỉ được phép nghe một lần, nếu bạn nghe từ đồng âm khác nghĩa, bạn khó có cơ hội để nhớ lại vì phần thi đã nhanh chóng đến section tiếp theo. Cách tối ưu nhất để đoán đúng nghĩa của những từ đồng âm đó là đặt trong ngữ cảnh của đoạn hội thoại. Từ việc xác định chủ đề bài nghe, câu hỏi cho đến nội dung thông tin mà người nói cung cấp, bạn có thể phân biệt được từ đồng âm đó dễ hơn là chỉ chú tâm nghe từng câu trong bài.

Phải nằm lòng càng nhiều những từ Homophones càng tốt. Bởi kiến thức vững vàng vẫn là hành trang cần thiết nhất giúp bạn vượt qua kì thi dễ dàng hơn. Do số lượng từ đồng âm khác nghĩa là vô cùng lớn, các bạn sẽ dễ thấy chán nản nếu có ý định “học hết” tất cả những cặp từ đó. Hãy nhớ rằng, khi học từ vựng, bạn không nên quá nóng vội, cho dù có rất nhiều từ vựng trong IELTS mà bạn chưa biết. Cách tốt nhất để phát triển vốn từ đó học và thực hành song song, chẳng hạn như áp dụng từ vừa học vào câu, hoặc đọc nhiều đoạn văn có sử dụng từ, cụm từ đó.

Trong bài viết này, chúng mình tổng hợp 50 cặp Homophones thường gặp trong phần IELTS Listening để hỗ trợ các bạn ôn luyện phần thi này tốt hơn. Việc chú trọng vào phát âm của từ là tốt nhưng lưu ý đến những trường hợp ngoại lệ của Homophones nhé!

AIR/HEIR: /ɛː/

Air: oxygen and other gases that we breathe in

Ex: It’s spring. Love is in the air and the birds are singing.

Heir: the person who is next in line in a family and inherits something

Ex: When the new royal heir is born, hundreds of balloons are sent up in the air to celebrate the event.


Aisle: a passageway between seats in rows

Ex: Would you like a window or an aisle seat?

An aisle seat, please. I wouldn’t like to sit next to the window, I’m afraid of heights.

Isle: a small island

Ex: They’re planning to build an airport on the isle. I think it’s a fantastic idea.

BALD/BAWLED: /bɔːld/

BALD: someone who has no hair on his head is bald

Ex: Will you love me if I go bald?

Don’t worry. Look at how handsome Bruce Willis is. And he is bald.

BAWLED: past form of ’bawl’, it means ’cry loudly’

Ex: When I realized I was going bald, I bawled like a child. I don’t want to look like Captain Picard from Star Trek.

You shouldn’t have bawled so hard. Captain Picard is really cool.


BAND: a group of people

Ex: I’d like to form a rock band. Can you play any musical instruments?

BANNED: (ban-banned-banned) to prohibit, not allow

Ex: I’d love to be in a rock band, but I thought you were banned from playing loud music in the house.


BARE: naked, not covered

Ex: Susy was wearing a daring dress at the party. It revealed her bare legs.

BEAR: a big animal with dark brown coat that lives in woods and eats smaller animals and fruit

Ex: I took my son to the zoo to see the new baby bear. He loved it. I think I’ll get him a Teddy bear for his next birthday.

BE/BEE: /biː/

BE: exist (am,is,are,was,were,been)

Ex: I’d like to be famous one day.

BEE: a flying, stinging insect that makes honey

Ex: I wonder what it’s like to be a bee. Bees seem to be working all day.

BREAK/BRAKE: /breɪk/

BREAK: smash something by dropping, bending or damaging it somehow

Ex: You’ll break something if you keep playing football in the living room. Can you stop it, please?

BRAKE: a device to make a car go slower/stop

Ex: I’ll have to get my brakes checked. I think there’s something wrong with them.

Is the garage open on Sunday? I don’t want you to crash the car.


BORED: not interested in your current activity

Ex: I’m bored with you. Are homophones the only thing you can talk about?

BOARD: a flat piece of wood on which you can write, play a game or do sports like surfing, skateboarding etc.

Ex: Whenever the teacher goes to the whiteboard and writes something on it, the students start chatting.

BUY/BY: /bʌɪ/

BUY: getting something for money

Ex: I’d like to buy a piano, but my husband doesn’t really like the idea.

BY: through, via

Ex: Do you go to work by car?

No, I can’t drive. I always go by train.

CELL/SELL: /sɛl/

CELL: a room in a prison/ the smallest part of an organism

Ex: How many cells are there in a human body?

SELL: giving something to somebody in return for money

Ex: I’ve decided to sell my house and move to Australia.

CENT/SCENT: /sɛnt/

CENT: 1/100th of a dollar

Ex: They don’t deserve a cent after what they have done to you.

SCENT: smell, odour, fragrance

Ex: Could you feel the scent of jasmine in the garden? It was so lovely.


CLAWS: a sharp, curvy structure at the end of the paws of animals

Ex: I’m not sure if I should trim my cat’s rear claws. Do you know anything about cats?

CLAUSE: a section of a legal document

Ex: Don’t sign that contract before you read and understand every word and clause!

CURRENT/CURRANT: /ˈkʌr(ə)nt/

CURRENT: happening/existing now

Ex: Are you happy in your current job?

Yes, I am. My current employer is much nicer than the previous one.

CURRANT: a small, black or red berry that grows on bushes

Ex: Would you like some ice-cream with your blackcurrants?

I’d love some, thanks. Ice-cream and currants are my ideas of heaven.

DEAR/DEER: /dɪə/

DEAR: loved and valued

Ex: You are my dearest friend, you know.

Am I? You’re dear to me as well.

DEER: an animal with hooves and antlers that lives in the woods

Ex: I had venison steak for lunch.

What’s venison?

Oh dear, you don’t know?  It’s deer meat.

DIE/DYE: /dʌɪ/

DIE: stop living

Ex: My dog’s very old. I’m afraid he’ll die soon.

DYE: to colour materials or hair

Ex: I’m thinking of dying my hair. Should I dye it blue or pink?

I think your parents will just die if you show up with pink hair.

Right, I’ll dye it blue then.

FAIR/FARE: /fɛː/

FAIR: honest/ consistent with rules/ light in colour, clear

Ex: Mum, that’s not fair! I did the washing up yesterday. It’s Jack’s turn today.

FARE: money you pay for transportation

Ex: I can’t visit my parents very often. The train fare is too expensive.

FLEE/FLEA: /fliː/

FLEE: run away from danger

Ex: If I was a bit younger, I’d flee this boring town and move to the capital.

FLEA: a small insect that lives in the fur of animals

Ex: Do you think fleas go into human hair?

Well, a flea may jump on it if you’re around animals, but I don’t think it would like it there.

FLOUR/FLOWER: /ˈflaʊə/

FLOUR: white powder-like foodstuff that’s obtained by grinding grains

Ex: Can you buy some flour on your way home? I’d like to make pizza for dinner.

Of course, I will. I would do anything to have pizza for dinner.

FLOWER: the most beautiful part of plants that blossoms and smells nice

Ex: You should make your wife breakfast in bed a few times every month. And don’t forget to lay a single flower on the tray before you serve it.


GRIZZLY: a big, brown bear that lives in North America

Ex: Would you like to come trekking with us? We’re going to the Rockies.

You must be joking. What will you do if you bump into a grizzly?

GRISLY: unpleasant and frightening

Ex: Did you see those black and white photos in her living room?

Yeah, they’re rather grisly, aren’t they? Especially the one with the zombies.


GUERRILLA: a member of a small group of irregular soldiers

Ex: Guerrilla warfare has had a big impact on the area. It’s not a safe place to go on holiday any more.

GORILLA: the largest and strongest ape

Ex: Have you seen the film ’King Kong’? It’s about a giant gorilla that is taken to New York to be exhibited.

HAIR/HARE: /hɛː/

HAIR: what grows on your head

Ex: Her hair used to be much shorter. Do you think she’s got hair extensions?

HARE: an animal that’s similar to a rabbit, but has longer ears and legs

Ex: Rabbits live underground, but hares live in overground nests.

Can I get a pet hare?

HEAL/HEEL: /hiːl/

HEAL: become or make healthy again

Ex: How long will this wound take to heal?

HEEL: the part of a foot that’s under the ankle

Ex: I hurt my left heel while playing football. I hope it will heal soon.

HEROINE/HEROIN: /ˈhɛrəʊɪn/

HEROINE: a brave woman, usually the principal character of a book or a film

Ex: My favourite heroine is Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter books.

HEROIN: a white, highly addictive narcotic

Ex: I stopped reading that book when the heroine turned out to be a heroin addict. I don’t like stories about drug addicts. They’re so sad.

HOLY/WHOLLY: /ˈhəʊli/

HOLY: sacred, dedicated to God

Ex: The Christian holy book is called the Bible.

WHOLLY: completely, fully

Ex: The dress she was wearing to church was wholly inappropriate.

HUMERUS/HUMOROUS: /ˈhjuːm(ə)rəs/

HUMERUS: the bone in the body which is between the shoulder and the elbow

Ex: Humerus fractures usually heal without surgery, but you may have to wear a shoulder sling for a couple of weeks.

HUMOROUS: funny, comical

Ex: I write humorous stories for children in my free time, but my daughter doesn’t seem to like them at all.

IDOL/IDLE: /ˈʌɪd(ə)l/

IDOL: a false god, someone or something people love and adore

Ex: Aretha Franklin is my idol. She’s such a fantastic singer.

IDLE: not busy, lazy

Ex: Peter’s such an idle child. He never does his homework and doesn’t pay attention in class at all.

IN/INN: /ɪn/

IN: contained/inside something

Ex: I love living in this town. I can spend hours just watching the people go by.

INN: a small hotel that provides food and accommodation

Ex: We usually stay in this inn when we are visiting my parents. It’s the best inn in town.

KNOT/NOT: /nɒt/

KNOT: when you tie two pieces of string or rope together a knot is formed

Ex: My son can tie his shoelaces by himself now. He tied his first ever knot last week.

NOT” a word you use to make negative forms

Ex: I do not remember when my daughter learnt how to tie a knot. She was not as young as your son.

MADE/MAID: /meɪd/

MADE: past form of ’make’

Ex: I made a cake for my husband’s birthday.

MAID: a woman you pay to do housework for you

Ex: I think I’ll hire a maid. I can’t do everything myself, can I?


MORNING: the part of the day after sunrise

Ex: I feel really unsocial in the morning until I have my first coffee. It’s not the best time to talk to me about important things.

MOURNING: the sad emotion you feel after somebody you love dies

Ex: In my country, women wear black clothes during the mourning period.


MUSCLES: fiber-like, flexible organ that moves the bones and different parts of the body

Ex: Arnold Schwarzenegger is really muscular. Have you seen his muscles? They’re huge like mountains.

MUSSELS: edible, marine animals with soft bodies inside black or green shells

Ex: I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger in a restaurant last night. He was eating mussels with bare hands.

Oh, I hate mussels.


NIGHT: the time between sunset and sunrise

Ex: Where were you last night? I waited up for you until 2 am. You shouldn’t be out so late at night.

Mum, I was in bed all night. Why didn’t you knock on my door?

KNIGHT: a medieval soldier, a gentleman

Ex: Why don’t you go out with Jack? You can’t wait for a knight in shining armor forever.

I’m not waiting for a knight, but I definitely need someone more reliable than Jack.

NONE/NUN: /nʌn/

NONE: not any, no one

Ex: None of the students wanted to go to the museum, so we ended up feeding the pigeons on the square.

NUN: a woman who belongs to a religious order and lives in a monastery

Ex: Why did Mother Teresa become a nun?

She just liked helping people, I guess.

OUR/HOUR: /ˈaʊə/

OUR: belonging to use

Ex: Our house is the nicest in the street.

HOUR: sixty minutes

Ex: It takes an hour to get to our house from here.

PAIR/PEAR: /pɛː/

PAIR: two similar things together

Ex: I need a new pair of shoes. Will you come with me to help me choose?

PEAR: juicy fruit, similar to an apple in size

Ex: Would you like to stay for tea? I’m making pear tarts.

I’ve never tried pear tarts. Are they as good as apple tarts?


PATIENCE: the capacity of being tolerant and able to wait without getting angry

Ex: You’d better stop kicking your sister. I’m losing my patience and you don’t want to find out what happens when I’ve lost it.

PATIENTS: people who receive medical advice and care

Ex: I’ve got so many patients to visit today. I’m not sure if I’ll have the patience to listen to all of them.

But Dr. Brown, there are only two more patients left.

PAUSE/PAWS: /pɔːz/

PAUSE: stop something temporarily

Ex: Let’s pause the film. I want to go to the kitchen to get more popcorn.

PAWS: the feet of animals like cats or dogs

Ex: My cat puts her paws gently on my face every morning to wake me up. It’s lovely, but she never seems to notice how early it is.


PIECE: a part of something

Ex: Here, have a piece of apple pie. I made it myself.

PEACE: the state of tranquillity and no war

Ex: I wish there was peace on Earth.

PLAIN/PLANE: /pleɪn/

PLAIN: simple, clear, unmixed

Ex: I like all kinds of chocolate. Chocolate with nuts, chocolate with fruit, chocolate with cream filling or just plain chocolate.

PLANE: aeroplane, airplane

Ex: I’m not afraid of flying, but I really don’t like sitting in a plane for hours. It’s so boring.

POOR/POUR: /pɔː/

POOR: someone who doesn’t have enough money/ someone you feel sorry for

Ex: Poor Jackie! She didn’t pass the exam, even though she had studied a lot.

POUR: to make some liquid flow onto or into something

Ex: You poor thing! You must be freezing, it’s so cold outside. Come in, let me pour you some nice, hot tea.


PROPHET: someone who teaches the words of God and makes predictions about the future

Ex: Do you think there are any modern day prophets? Do we still need prophets?

PROFITS: the money businesses have left after paying all the expenses

Ex: A lot of companies are more interested in profits than the safety of their workers.

SAIL/SALE: /seɪl/

SAIL: to move smoothly through water or air

Ex: I’d like to sail through the Mediterranean. Do you want to come with me?

SALE: selling goods or services

Ex: Ted’s house is for sale. I wonder where he’s going to move once it’s sold.

SAW/SAW: /sɔː/

SAW: past tense of ’see’

Ex: I saw Glenn at the post office yesterday, but she didn’t see me.

SAW: a thin metal tool that is used for cutting wood

Ex: Have you seen my saw? I’d like to make a house for the dog.

SERIAL/CEREAL: /ˈsɪərɪəl/

SERIAL: a story published or performed in parts

Ex: I like that website. I can watch my favourite TV serials there online.

CEREAL: breakfast food made from grains, eaten with milk

Ex: What’s your favourite breakfast cereal?

SO/SEW: /səʊ/

SO: to a certain extent

Ex: I’m so happy, I could kiss you. Thanks a lot for the lovely present.

SEW: make or repair clothes using a needle and thread

Ex: I love designing clothes, but I can’t sew.

Why don’t you learn how to sew? I’d be so glad to wear the clothes you make.

SOUL/SOLE: /səʊl/

SOUL: the spirit of a person

Ex: Do you like my painting? I put my heart and soul in it.

Well, I can see some paint there on a canvas, but I can’t see your heart and soul anywhere.

SOLE: a type of fish native to Europe, valued as food  – ALSO –the under the surface of a person’s foot

Ex: I’d like to make something light for dinner. Have you got any sole recipes?

The soles of their feet were nearly black with dirt.

WAIST/WASTE: /weɪst/

WAIST: the part of the human body that’s between the upper body and the lower body

Ex: She got extremely upset when I told her. She was just standing there with her hands on her waist and didn’t say a word.

WASTE: when you spend money or time on something you don’t really need, it’s a waste

Ex: Let’s not waste more time on this subject. We’ve said everything that can be being said.


WAIT: to spend time and stay somewhere until something happens

Ex: Will you wait here until I get back? I won’t be long.

WEIGHT: the weight of something shows how heavy it is

Ex: Do you think I should lose some weight?

No, I don’t. I actually think you need to put on some weight- you’re too thin.

WINE/WHINE: /wʌɪn/

WINE: alcoholic drink made of grapes

Ex: A glass of red wine before bed is good for your heart.

WHINE: complain like a child

Ex: Don’t whine! I won’t give you more wine unless you stop whining.


WRITE: to form letters, words, and sentences using pen and paper or a computer

Ex: How old were you when you learnt to write?

I was three years old. Three?

RIGHT: correct, true

Ex: That’s right. I was only three when I learned to write.

Luyện nghe trong IELTS có rất nhiều điểm cần chú ý, không chỉ đối với Homophones. Vậy nên các bạn hãy tích cực trau dồi cho mình những kiến thức cần thiết cho mình nhé!

Chúc các bạn học tốt!

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