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Homophones là cặp từ có phát âm giống hệt nhau nhưng cách viết và ý nghĩa thì khác nhau hoàn toàn.
Listening “tricky” ở chỗ chỉ được nghe qua 1 lần không được nghe lại lần thứ 2, vậy nên các cặp homophones với cách đọc giống hệt nhau là nỗi đau đầu của nhiều bạn thi IELTS.
Có bao giờ các bạn nghe 1 từ và biết từ đó là gì nhưng khi điền vào nó lại có cảm giác hơi “sai sai”? Đó chính là lúc bị “xỏ lá” bởi các cặp homophone đó.
Dưới đây là 30 homophone phổ biến nhất trong bài thi listening, bài viết với giải thích kèm theo từng cặp homophones, giúp các bạn học dễ dàng hơn. Cách tránh bị sai vì nghe đúng mà điền nhầm thì phải học bài viết này và xem xét ngữ cảnh của câu hỏi nữa.

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: 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 liked 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.

  1. BE/BEE

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: 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.

  1. BUY/BY

BUY: getting something for money

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

BY: through, via

Do you go to work by car?

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


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: 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: 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: 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 idea of heaven.


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.

  1. DIE/DYE

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: 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: 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: 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 anymore.

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.


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