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You already know how to pronounce those tricky words like meme and mauve, but what if you have to actually put pen to paper, or--more likely--finger to keyboard? That’s when homonyms, words that sound the same but are spelled differently (and mean different things), are tricky. Test your knowledge below.

homonyms its

1. Its and It’s 
___ not OK to confuse homonyms.
A. Its
B. It’s
Answer: B
Its is a possessive pronoun; it’s is a contraction of "it is."

2. Aide and Aid
My sister works as a teacher’s ___. 
A. Aide
B. Aid
Answer: A
An aide is a person who assists; aid is a verb meaning "to assist."

3. Effect and Affect
Wait, the side ___ of Red Bull are what?!
A. Effects
B. Affects
Answer: A
An effect is a result; affect means "to change."

homonyms altar1

4. Altar and Alter
Don’t ___ your appearance for anyone else.
A. Altar
B. Alter
Answer: B
An altar is what’s at the front of a church; alter means "to change."

5. Principal and Principle
I’m not going to her party on ___ alone.
A. Principal
B. Principle
Answer: B
A principle is a fundamental truth; a principal is in charge of a school.

homonyms bawling

6. Bawling and Balling
I can’t make it through The Notebook without ___.
A. Bawling
B. Balling
Answer: A
To bawl is to cry incessantly; a ball is what you use to play sports.

7. Bare and Bear
___ in mind, the decision isn’t final.
A. Bare
B. Bear
Answer: B
Bare means without clothing; bear as a noun is a big, scary animal and also used in phrases like “bear down” or “grin and bear it.”

8. Pique and Peak
That certainly does ___ my interest. 
A. Pique
B. Peak
Answer: A
Pique means to stimulate or arouse; a peak is the top of a mountain.

homonyms capitol

9. Capitol and Capital
We’re making a quick trip to the ___ building this weekend.
A. Capitol
B. Capital
Answer: A
Capitol is a center of government; capital is something very important and also the opposite of lowercase.

10. Canvass and Canvas
After a quick ___ of the neighborhood, the police left.
A. Canvass
B. Canvas
Answer: A
To canvass is to search thoroughly; a canvas is the cloth a painter paints on.

11. Compliment and Complement
Thank you so much for the ___. You’re too sweet.
A. Compliment
B. Complement
Answer: A
A compliment is what someone gives you when they like your new haircut; a complement is something that goes well with another thing.

homonyms stationery

12. Stationary and Stationery
You know you’re an adult when you get personalized ___.
A. Stationary
B. Stationery
Answer: B
Stationary means staying still; stationery is what you write thank-you notes on.

13. Vain and Vein
In the same ___ as what Katie said…
A. Vain
B. Vein
Answer: B
Vain is what Carly Simon says you are; veins are what course through your body.

14. Incite and Insight
Not looking to ___ debate, but Instagram is way better than Facebook.
A. Incite
B. Insight
Answer: A
To incite is to provoke; to have insight is to have an understanding.

homonyms hanger

15. Hangar and Hanger
Just make sure to put the dress on the ___ when you get home.
A. Hangar
B. Hanger
Answer: B
Hangars store airplanes; hangers store clothes.

16. Lightning and Lightening
Did you see the crazy ___ last night?
A. Lightning
B. Lightening
Answer: A
Lightning strikes during a storm; lightening means making something lighter.

17. Overdue and Overdo
Remember freaking out about ___ books?
A. Overdue
B. Overdo
Answer: A
Overdue means "past deadline"; overdo is something done in excess.

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