Discover the Homophone Machine
Today I want to share a fun, free online tool with you. It’s called the Homophone Machine.
I developed the Homophone Machine five years ago, and it is one of the most visited pages on my website. You see, many spelling errors are caused by incorrect homophone usage.
Homophones—also known as homonyms—are tricky words that sound alike but are spelled differently. Common examples include their/there and waste/waist.
I’ve discovered over the years that having fun with homophones helps children learn to use them correctly. Hence the development of the Homophone Machine, which is all about the discovery and exploration of words.
Here’s how the machine works:
- Type any sentence or paragraph into the top box on the Homophone Machine.
- Click the “Convert” button.
- Out pops your newly converted sentence! All words that have homophones are converted.
Here are some fun things you can do with the Homophone Machine:
- Have a contest to see who can create a readable sentence with the highest number of incorrectly used homophones.
- Point out that William Shakespeare was not a careful speller—in fact, he even spelled his own name several different ways! But what if he had gone one step further? What if he had carelessly used homophones, paying no mind to choosing the proper word? We might have ended up with famous phrases like these:
“Two bee, oar knot two bee.”
“This above awl: two thine own self bee true.”
“A hoarse! A hoarse! My kingdom four a hoarse!”
“Good knight, good knight! Parting is such suite sorrow, that eye shall say good knight till it bee morrow.”
What other silly Shakespearean phrases might have resulted? Type in some of your favorite lines into the Homophone Machine to find out.
- Demonstrate that your computer’s spell checker, although a handy tool, will not necessarily catch incorrect usage. Then introduce your kids to the poem “Candidate for a Pullet Surprise” by Dr. Jerrold Zar, which aptly illustrates what can happen if you rely too much on the spell checker! Astonishingly, though more than 50% of the poem’s words (127 out of 224) are incorrect, all the words are spelled correctly.
- Copy and paste another poem into the Homophone Machine to see what results.
And don’t forget two halve fun as ewe and you’re children explore homophones together!
Go ahead…give it a try! Use our Homophone Machine and leave your best sentence in the comments below!