A List of Spanish Homophones
What are Spanish homophones? And how are they different from homographs and homonyms?
Along with a long list of common and useful Spanish homophones, learn the difference between homophones, homographs, and homonyms!
Homophones, Homographs, and Homonyms: What’s the Difference?
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Part of the confusion comes from the fact that they all start with homo, which in old Greek means “one and the same; similar; alike.” These three words name a group that shares similar features.
Let’s break it down.
The Greek -phonos means sound. Homophones are words that have the same sound but don’t mean the same thing—like “eye” and “I” in English. The Spanish word meaning “homophones” is palabras homófonas.
The Greek -graphein means “to write,” and homographs are words that are written the same way, but do not mean the same. For example, “to tear something” and “a tear in your eye.”
The word “homonym” is formed by -homo and -onyma, meaning “the name.” Homonyms are words that are either homophones (sound the same) or homographs (written the same), or both. For example, “to bark” and “bark of a tree.”
Spanish homophones, or palabras homófonas españolas are words that sound the same but they’re spelled differently and have different meanings. They can be divided into 5 different groups:
- Accent mark makes a written distinction in meaning, such as sé (I know) and se (pronoun).
Ya sé que me quieres.
I know that you love me.
Se volteó sin decir nada y se fue.
He turned around without saying anything and left.
- With silent letter h or without: hecho (“fact,” or past participle form of hacer) and echo (first person singular of the verb echar, “to throw away, fire”)
Es un hecho que he hecho un gran trabajo.
It’s a fact that I have done a great job.
Te echo inmediatamente, si me entero que fuiste tú.
I’ll fire you immediately if I find out it was you.
The next three groups exist because, in Spanish, the same phonemes can be written down in two or more different ways, meaning that two different letters can be represented with the same sound. If you want to read more about Spanish sounds, read “An Expert Guide to Spanish Allophones and Phonemes.”
- Letters v and b have the same phoneme /b/ and hence the confusion. Vaso (glass) and baso (1st person singular of the verb basar–to base) look different but you can easily confuse them when you hear somebody pronouncing them.
En mi teoría me baso en los últimos hallazgos científicos.
My theory is based on the latest scientific findings.
Mi vaso está roto y no puedo tomar mi jugo.
My glass is broken and I can’t drink my juice.
- In Latin América, on the Canary Islands, and in some parts of Andalusia, the letters s, z, and the letter c in combinations of ce, ci are pronounced with the same /s/ phoneme. For this reason, some pairs of words can be homonyms in these areas, but for example not in Spain. Casa (house) and caza (hunting) will not sound the same in Madrid, but they will in Mexico city.
Mi casa es tu casa.
My house is your house.
En Inglaterra, la caza del zorro sigue viva.
In England, fox hunting is still alive.
- Letters “y” and “ll.” The majority of Spanish speakers pronounce y and ll the same way. However, if you travel to Paraguay and some other Andean parts of Latin America, native speakers from there distinguish these two sounds phonetically. For them, vaya (a subjunctive form of the verb ir “to go”) and valla (fence) won’t be homonyms, but in the rest of the Spanish-speaking countries, they are.
No se vaya señor todavía.
Don’t go yet, sir.
Mi papá hizo la valla alrededor de mi jardín.
My dad made the fence around my garden.
A List of Spanish Homophones with Sample Sentences
Let’s see some more Spanish homophones. You can also download it as a worksheet and hang it over your desk or on your fridge to practice your homophones.
|a (to)||ha (conjugated form of haber)|
|arrollo (conjugated form of arrollar, to roll up)||arroyo (stream)|
|asar (to roast)||azar (chance, fate)|
|Asia (Asia)||hacia (toward)|
|asta (mast)||hasta (until)|
|barón (baron)||varón (man)|
|basta (enough)||vasta (vast)|
|bienes (property)||vienes (conjugated form of venir, to come)|
|calló (conjugated form of callar, to silence)||cayó (conjugated form of caer, to fall)|
|cerrar (to close)||serrar (to saw)|
|cien (hunderd)||sien (temple)|
|ciento (hundred)||siento (conjugated form of sentir, to feel)|
|cocer (to cook)||coser (to sew)|
|halla (conjugated form of hallar, to find)||haya (conjugated form of haber, to have)|
|hierba (herb)||hierva (conjugated form of hervir, to boil)|
|hierro (iron)||yerro (mistake)|
|hola (hello)||ola (wave)|
|honda (deep)||onda (wave)|
|mas (but)||más (more)|
|rallar (to grate)||rayar (to make lines on)|
|rebelarse (to rebel)||revelarse (to reveal oneself)|
|solo (alone)||sólo (only)|
|si (if)||sí (yes)|
|sumo (supreme)||zumo (juice)|
|tasa (rate)||taza (cup)|
|tu (your)||tú (you)|
|tubo (pipe)||tuvo (conjugated form of tener, to have)|
Example Spanish Sentences
To help your memory, here are some sentences with Spanish homophones that will hopefully stick in your mind!
Ha ido a un lugar de cuyo nombre no me puedo acordar.
He has gone to a place whose name I cannot remember.
Mañana te arrollo con mi coche al lado del arroyo si no me prestas tu pluma.
Tomorrow, I’ll hit you with my car by the stream if you don’t lend me your pen.
Por azar perdió todo lo que tenía hasta sus utensilios para asar.
By chance, he lost everything he had, even his barbecue utensils.
Sube rápido hasta la cima del asta y canta ahí una canción.
Climb quickly to the top of the pole and sing a song there.
Este varón tiene aires de barón.
This man has a pretense of a baron.
Me basta con una vasta colección de cepillos de dientes que he usado hasta ahora.
A vast collection of toothbrushes that I have used so far is enough for me.
Si no vienes, no verás mis bienes.
If you don’t come, you won’t see my goods.
Se cayó y calló para siempre.
He fell and was silent forever.
No es lo mismo cerrar la mano que serrarla.
Closing the hand is not the same as sawing it.
Parece como si cien elefantes estuvieran encima de mi sien.
It seems like a hundred elephants are on top of my temple.
Siento que la película Ciento un dalmatás no haya sido de tus favoritas.
O’m sorry the movie “One Hundred and One Dalmatas” was not one of your favorites.
No es lo mismo coser una herida que cocerla.
It’s not the same to sew a wound as to cook it.
Quizá él haya logrado saber cómo se halla la inteligencia.
Perhaps he has managed to know how to find intelligence.
¡Esfuerzáte para que la hierba hierva!
Make an effort to bring the herb to boil!
“Yo no yerro con el hierro”, dijo el caballero.
“I don’t make mistakes with iron,” said the knight.
Una ola no dice “hola”.
A wave does not say “hello”.
Las ondas radifónicas no son hondas.
Radio waves are not deep.
¡Mas más dulces no me harán daño!
But more sweets won’t hurt me!
Si sabes rayar las paredes, sabrás rallar las zanahorias.
If you know how to write on the walls you’ll know how to grate the carrots.
Se rebeló y así se reveló su verdadero carácter.
He rebelled and thus his true character.
Sólo si estás solo puedes escuchar el silencio.
Only if you’re alone can you hear the silence.
Si me dices que sí me vas a hacer muy feliz.
If you tell me “yes”, you will make me very happy.
El sumo sacerdote tomó el zumo y empezó a bailar.
The high priest drank the juice and began to dance.
Tomar de esta taza ayuda a aumentar la tasa de natalidad.
Drinking from this cup helps to increase the birth rate.
¡Tú y tu hermana no son mis jefes!
You and your sister are not my bosses!
Él tuvo un tubo pero se le perdió.
He had a tube but it got lost.
Practice With a Native Speaker
Another great tip to get your homophones clear is to use them in conversations. You will train your ear, and learn different meanings. You can also ask somebody to dictate sentences with Spanish homophones and try to get them right.
Remember, you can always sign up for a free class with one of our native, Spanish-speaking teachers from Guatemala and polish your Spanish homophones during a one-to-one lesson.
Ready to learn more Spanish grammar? Check these out!
- A List of Spanish Homophones
- 16 Spanish Auxiliary Verbs You’ve Been Missing
- Acordarse vs Recordar: How to Say ‘Remember’ in Spanish
- How to Use the Spanish Verb ‘Parecer’
- Ordenar vs Pedir: What’s the Difference Between these Spanish Verbs?
- An Expert Guide to Spanish Allophones and Phonemes
- Mucho vs Muy: What’s the Difference?
- Huir Conjugation: Free Spanish Lesson, Exercises, and PDF
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