6 replies 


Location: Philippines

Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher

What is the difference?

I make it a point that my students have weekly reaction papers as to evaluate their progress. In the middle of my checking their papers, I s because of a misused word; a word which is totally not related from their train of thought. Then i review the sentence and find out that these words have almost the same pronunciation but have different meanings.

For example, “I taught (thought) we were going out tonight?” If he said it out loud, I might not be able to notice the difference but since he wrote it down, it was totally (a)of course, (b)off course, or (c)of coarse. (hmmm… which is which?).

What do you think are the factors which contribute to this learning barrier?


~~~a stone is not carved by force but by constant friction~~~



Location: Philippines

Position: Parent

What is the age group of your students?

In this case, it is advisable to focus on grammar and vocabulary lessons. Give the kids practice sets on how to conjugate verbs and use them in examples.

In your example taught vs thought, these two words have different pronunciation. It shouldn’t be mixed up in the first place. Tutors, teachers and educators should be mindful of little mistakes such as mispronouncing words because kids will follow suit.


keith at ela

Location: England UK and Philippines

Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher Boy who could not read

There are many examples of this problem with “Homonyms” words that sound alike, but they are spelled differently and they have different meanings, the one you have highlighted taught vs. thought, is a classic one and like most words with “th” they are mispronounced. The students will write it as they hear it and it is so often the case that even the teacher if they are non-native will mispronounce theses words. For example. I thought (mispronounced as tort) I told you not to be late for class. So naturally the student will think they are correct to use taught instead of thought. There are many homonym problems like this – to two and too – new and knew – dear and deer – ate and eight and so on and so on. It is important you never put a student down for this type of mistake, especially boys. You will destroy their enthusiasm. First look at yourself as their role model in their speaking and understanding of English. Do you maybe make this type of pronunciation error and your students copy it. Pronunciation perfection is the key to this problem.





Location: Kerala, India

Positions: Parent Administrator

What Chuck said is a very valuable point. The reason behind these issues is that a he is not properly understanding the meaning of a word. He just learn the portions by heart. This is common in all boys and to be frank I too had such issues. But this can be corrected. but how?

One way is to make them learn one word and it’s meaning each day themselves or else the teacher can take the initiative. I go with the second option since the other one may not give proper results in case of small boys. A teacher can actually give relevant words each day (which are similar when pronouced) and ask him to get dig for its meaning using the dictionary. Two things will happen with him, one is that he will know the exact meaning of the words and the second one he will slowly develop the habit of searching dictionaries when such situation arises in future which will in turn contribute to his reading habit.



Location: Setif, Algeria

Positions: Classroom Teacher Administrator, English Teacher

the most factor for this problem is that our kids learn their language orally (from TV, and some Media) so they just pronounce it correctly but without any knowledge of the word spelling (you gave some good examples); and there is an other factor which is the teachers how teach the language (or Parents) they give the most importance to the oral over the writing or spelling, and this give us this problem;

Thank you;



Location: philippines

Position: Classroom Teacher

most of us learn through hearing, and then from what we hear we can write it down. The problem there is how those words that we hear pronounced by the speaker.

In classroom, students will listen every word what the teacher will say. Thus, if the teacher could not say the word correctly, students will take it the way it was being delivered and may write it differently from the word that was really meant.

These homonyms are really confusing if one don’t know the appropriate word to use in a sentence.

Say for example, the teacher says, “you are right, Ana.” other students will spell right as write.

so it is really important to know the correct usage of words, how to pronounce it correctly , and how to spell it right.



Location: Philippines

Positions: Parent, Classroom Teacher

You guys are right! Most of our kids learn what they say from the television. I have a nephew who is three and his parents really don’t talk to him in English but he speaks to me in English when I visit them. Guess where he learned to speak the language? From watching cartoons.

It is really up to us to tell them what is right from wrong. Again, thanks guys.

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