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Homophones List ~ Magic E

"Magic E" is an incredibly useful spelling rule that all native speakers learn when young but other learners of English are often unaware of. The basic version is that an E after a short vowel sound and a single consonant makes the vowel "say its name", i.e. take the pronunciation of that letter when you say the alphabet. This is how it works for the five letters that are vowels:

  • a in at changes to A in ate, eg when changing from hat to hate
  • e in set changes to E in Pete, eg when changing from met to mete
  • i in it changes to I in write, eg when changing from bit to bite
  • o in hot changes to O in choke, eg when changing from hop to hope
  • u in but changes to U in use, eg when changing from cut to cute

Learning the homophones of words with a magic E in them can help you learn this pronunciation and spelling rule. If you already know this rule, you can then use it to learn the words that are homophones, eg using your knowledge of how to say "base" as a way of remembering the difference between bass guitar (which has the same pronunciation) and bass the fish (which is different).

Words with magic E making A say its name

ate / eight
bale / bail
base / bass (guitar)
based / baste
brake / break
chased / chaste
daze / days
gaze / gays
grate / great
lane / lain
laze / lays
made / maid
male / mail
mane / main
maze / maize
pale / pail
pane / pain
place / plaice
plane / plain
raze / rays
sale / sail
shake / sheik
stake / steak
tale / tail
vane / vein
wade / weighed
wave / waive
whale / wail

Words with magic E making E say its name

genes / jeans
mete / meet

Words with magic E making I say its name

bite / byte
cite / sight
clime / climb
fined / find
mined / mind
miner / minor
mite / might
pride / pried
prize / pries
rise / ryes
rite / right
side / sighed
sine / sign
site / sight
size / sighs
tide / tied
time / thyme
wise / whys
write / right

Words with magic E making O say its name

hose / hoes
lode / load
lone / loan
mode / mowed
nose / knows
ode / owed
pole / poll
rode / road
role / roll
rose / rows
sole / soul
throne / thrown
yoke / yolk

Words with magic E making U say its name

use / yews
muse / mews

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