Considering how popular and widely used the English language is, it does have some weird and quirky ways about it.

And none more so than the number of heteronyms it has.


Heteronyms. Words that are spelled the same but have different meanings and are pronounced differently.

Don’t get them confused with homonyms by the way; words that are spelled the same and are pronounced the same, yet have different meanings.

The easiest way to find your way through this particular linguistic minefield is with examples:


Bass – deep voice / a fish
Compact – small / neat
Discount – money off / disregard
Minute – 60 seconds / very small
Tear – rip / moisture from eyes


Bark – part of a tree / a dog’s sound
Circular – round / a leaflet
Mean – average / unkind
Pound – currency / to beat
Well – all good / water store

There are a lot (portion / destiny) more of these to be found (create / discovered) throughout English, which is why the language is so interesting and yet so difficult to learn.

Imagine trying to absorb all of these, with the correct pronunciation and their meanings. No easy task – it’s something that, as a native English speaker, you pick up without really even thinking about it. It comes to you as you grow, listen and learn.

But as a student of the language, you have to grasp it as you go along – practicing, repeating and understanding. And that’s what the human brain can do. It can take all of this stuff in and make sense of it. No machine can do that.

A language generator or AI writing tool will spell a word correctly but it isn’t seeing it in its computerised mind with the right intonations to distinguish it as a different word. It cannot understand those important nuances and distinctions of words, meanings and pronunciations that are so important in every personal and professional life.

Clear and correct writing and speech indicates clear and correct thinking. We humans have the ability to communicate with clarity and professionalism which is why only humans can write and create.

Machines don’t even come close (near / shut)…

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