top of page

They’re There Their…Where?

Clarifying the confusion of the horrible homonym

Examples of homonyms
The Common Homon...ym

Homonyms are words that sound the same, or that are spelled the same, but have different meanings. As such, they cause many common grammatical errors.


If homonyms were only rare and obscure words, it wouldn’t be so bad. It also wouldn’t be typically English.


In this article, I am going to take you through two of the most problematic groups of homonyms. They include some of the most commonly used words in the English language.


There, they’re and their.

Where, were, wear, ware and, at a pinch, we’re.

And, because they are intrinsically linked, wherefore, whereof, whereby and whereafter, and

thereafter, thereby, thereof and therefore.



I will start with the more unique words in these groups. The definitions you just need to remember.


Then I will go through some tricks you can use against the similarly constructed homonyms. If you want to quickly check a specific word, click on it in the above list and it will take you right to the relevant point.


So if you’re ready, let’s dive right in.


Ware

Ware is an object of value.


As an item of value is often associated with price, wares are usually goods for sale. A market trader will be displaying their wares for you to buy.


Ware is also twinned with a substance or material to specify the type of valuable object.


Commonly you will see stoneware (items made of stone), potteryware (or pottery ware) and silverware. A warehouse is, literally a ‘house’ for storing sellable goods.


Wear

Wear means either to take away from, or to add to.


There are multiple homonyms of this particular homonym but these definitions cover all specifics.


Wear as to take away from.

This could be being eroded, or fading away, or getting duller over time.


Wear as to add to.

Meaning