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Varieties of English Spelling

There are several major varieties of English‏‎: American, British, Australian and so on.

This article looks at differences in spelling between these. It is a general guide which covers the majority of cases, however remember that there are exceptions which will need to be taught to your TEFL class on an as-needs basis.

On that note, in general it does not matter which variety of English spelling…

Homographs‏‎

Homographs are words which have the same spelling but different meanings. They may or may not have the same pronunciation.

Here the word has the same spelling and pronunciation, but different meanings:
bear – beə (a big animal living in Yellowstone park)
bear – beə (to carry a burden or weight)
But in this case the word has same spelling but different pronunciations and meanings:
bow – bəʊ (used…

Synonyms in English

A Synonym is a word which has almost exactly the same meaning as another word. For example:
student – pupil
old – ancient

Note: Compare this with antonyms‏‎ which are words of opposite meanings.
In English, there are no perfect synonyms. Two words may be very similar and appear identical in meaning, but they will be used in slightly different contexts or have a very subtle difference…

Homophones‏‎

Homophones are words that sound the same but with very different meanings.

The words are usually spelt differently or, if they are spelt the same, come from different roots. For example, the words may be spelt the same, such as rose (as in the flower) and rose (as in the past verb form‏‎ of rise), or differently, such as two and too.

Homophones are often used…