Differences between homonymous words, homophones and homographs

Sometimes these three terms can cause us some trouble at the moment of knowing what each of them refers to, especially if we are beginning to study our grammar subject, and if we do not have some basis in etymology of the words. But there is no major problem, in this article we will learn to know and differentiate each of them.


In order to easily differentiate each of these, we are going to base ourselves on two main aspects:

  • The structure that each of them represents
  • The etymology of each term

Structure of the words

In the first place, we must know that homonymous words are simply words that “sound” or are pronounced the same, and that to differentiate between one and the other, it is enough to have presents that these terms basically deal with:


  • One word pronunciation
  • Meaning of a word
  • Writing a word

The following synoptic table will allow us to better differentiate each of them, according to the aforementioned structure.

Classification of the words paronimous, homonymous, homophones, homographs, synonyms, and antonyms

With this, no doubt, everything is clear and we can account for similarities (similarities) and differences between them. However, let’s also see an easy way to differentiate each group of words.

Etymology of words

Homónimo = Homo (equal or similar) – nimo (name, word) – EQUAL WORD (in this case, in pronunciation, although it brings together two groups of words whose writing is the same in some cases, and different in others)

Homophone = Homo (equal or similar) – phono (sound) – WORD EQUAL (in this case, in pronunciation)

Homógrafo = Homo (equal or similar) – grapho (writing) – WORD EQUAL (in this case, in writing)

With this of sure that already you will have clear the similarities and differences, not only between the group of homonymous words, homófonas and homógrafas; but also of the words parónimas (parónimos), sinónimas (synonyms) and antónimas (antonyms).

Differences between homonymous words, homophones and homographs
Source: Education  
June 18, 2019


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