Homophones – you know them – those annoying words that sound the same, but have dissimilar spelling and completely different meaning. There are a number of ways to learn to differ homophones and one of them, quite successful indeed, is through associations.
For example, the words piece and peace. In different contexts we cannot misunderstand the meaning. But what about the spelling? Are you 100% sure that you will not make a mistake?
Piece means a part of something. Like a part of.. a pie. PIE... PIEce. That's a good association! As easy as pie!*
What if you forget how to write pie, too? Oh well, that's another interesting story. It is believed that the word “pie” comes from the Greek letter π, also spelled out as pi. It is a mathematical constant – the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. The pie is round and so it got its name.
So it makes the association line even more solid – pi – pie – piece.
If you are a French speaker I would present to you a more eclectic example. In French pièce means a room. And what is the room if not a piece of the apartment. Sharp, uh?
Peace, on the other hand, is more abstract – it is something that all beauty queens crave. Peace is freedom, a period without any wars or conflicts. So, you might be thinking, according to your strange association idea, we should associate peace with what? Pea?
Yes, why not. Association doesn’t necessarily need to have an obvious connection. You can make up one which might be even more meaningful to you exactly because you created it yourself. I would think of the peaceful Pea. And would even go further – I would create some silly little story of the peaceful Pea. Like this one:
Two peas were peacefully living cuddled in a pod. Once they decided to go out and find out more about the wide world. So they split – one went left and one went right so when they came back to the pod they would tell each other their biggest adventures. They started the journey but somehow they made a funny turn and ended on the two ends of a very long and narrow bridge. Because of the distance, they couldn’t recognize each other and one of the peas shouted “Don’t walk on the bridge, there is no place for both of us! I want to pass first because I am in a hurry for adventures”. But the other pea was already halfway through and didn’t stop. So the first pea got really angry and started shouting. “All right, all right, I want peace”, said the pea and went back, so the first pea could go. As it reached the end of the bridge the second pea said “Don't be mad!” and gave him a hug and oh - from that close – just as in the pod - they recognized each other. Since then the second pea is known as the peaceful Pea.
So – be creative. The sweetest piece of the pie is to invent new associations and become the master of the homophones, which really are just like two peas in a pod**. And just in case – we will give you more examples soon.
*As easy as pie! - a pleasurable and simple task or experience
** Two peas in a pod – very similar
These phrases are idioms. Do you want to learn more about them?