SAT Vocabulary: Learning Homophones 2

Did you know that the English language has German roots? Well, it does and this basically explains the connection with so many German etymological roots. However, the main focus of this post is on Homophones, the words that are similar in pronunciation but different in spelling and meaning.

If you aim towards building a strong SAT vocabulary, then you have to pay special attention to the similar sounding words. It is not as if you will come across them for the first time, but never before you may have considered from the homophones point of you. They do have the power to leave you stumped when they appear suddenly in the SAT exam.

Here is a list of most commonly confused homophonic words along with their meaning:

Discreet: careful to keep confidences
Discrete: separate and distinct

Emigrate: to go out of a country
Immigrate: to come into a country

Eminent: Outstanding
Imminent: likely to happen soon

Enviable: admirable, worthy of envy
Envious: full of envy, jealous

Epic: a long narrative poem
Epoch: the beginning of a new and important period of history

Farther: actual distance or extension in space
Further: something additional in thought

A Quick review:

1. A good private secretary must be ____ (discreet, discrete)

2. My grandparents  ____  to the United States. (immigrated, emigrated)

3. Carl’s achievements are ____ (envious, enviable)

4. The printing press began a new ___ in history (epic, epoch)

5. Nuclear weapons pose an ____ danger (eminent, imminent)

Moving ahead

Right: proper
Rite: a religious or solemn ceremony

Fare: sum paid by a passenger
Fair : unbiased

Human: pertaining to a man
Humane: kind, benevolent

Industrial: relating to industry
industrious: hard working

Persecute: to cause suffering
Prosecute: to bring legal action against

A quick review:

1. The ___ treatment of prisoners is now advocated by all. (human, humane)

2. Detroit is an ____ town (industrial, industrious)

3. The Jews were ___ for their religious beliefs (prosecuted, persecuted)

4. When his neighbor punched him, Jones decides to ___ (persecute, prosecute)

5. Her funeral ___ were performed yesterday (rights, rites)

So, did you enjoy learning about these homophones? Next time when you come across any of them or other similar sounding words, think for two seconds as to what is the precise meaning of the word. Pay closer attention to these nuances while writing your SAT essay, because the worst mistake you can make is write ‘advise’ instead of ‘advice’, ‘complain’ in place of ‘complaints’ and ‘sensual’ in place of ‘sensuous’.

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