Confusing Words Clarified: Group H; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc. +

(lists of "H" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)


I don't mispell, as others mite,
But allways right each item rite;
So I emit resounding hoops
At other righter's speling bloops.
—From The Game of Words by Willard R. Espy;
Bramhall House; New York; 1972; page 124.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome by writing to: E-mail Contact (just click it for an e-mail form) or by typing,, as the address in your e-mail heading.

If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.

haunted, haunted, hunted, hunted
haunted (HAWNT'd) (verb)
Inhabited, visited, or appeared to have been in the form of a ghost or other supernatural being: They say that the hotel is haunted by ghosts.
haunted (HAWNT'd) (adjective)
Troubled or upset: Benjamin was a mysterious young man who had a haunted expression on his face.
hunted (HUHNT'd) (verb)
To have chased and killed: The wolves hunted their prey until they were successful in getting their next meal.
hunted (HUHNT'd) (adjective)
Usually wild animals that have been chased and killed: The hunted wolves sought refuge in the forest.

The prince, who had hunted all day and got lost in the forest, suddenly saw the haunted castle in front of him and he later discovered that it was the home of the Sleeping Beauty.

have, got, have got
have (HAV) (verb)
1. To be in possession of something: Jack asked, "Don't you already have a car?"
2. To accept; to take: Linda told the waiter, "I'll have the peas instead of the spinach, please."
3. To give birth to; to bear: She told Grace that she was going to have a baby the following month.
got (GAHT) (verb)
1. To come into possession or use of; to receive: She got a cat for her birthday.
2. To go after something and to obtain it: He got a book at the library right after he got his breakfast at the local restaurant.
3. To acquire as a result of some action or effort: He got his information from the internet.
have got (HAV GAHT) (verb)
1. To have or to possess, either in a concrete or an abstract sense. In American English, "gotten", although such usage is criticized as substandard, it is an alternative standard of the past participle in most senses; especially, in the senses "to receive" or "to acquire": "I have got (or have gotten) all that I ever hoped for."
2. In the sense of "must" or "possess", have got is in wide informal use: "I have (or I've) got to leave."

"We have got (or We've got) plenty and intend to keep it."

I have inherited a large fortune which my father got with sound investments in mineral rights in Canada and so I have decided I have got to plan a long trip to see the world.

haven, heaven
haven (HAY vuhn) (noun)
1. A harbor or anchorage; a port: The harbor at Halifax is a haven for many ships.
2. A place of refuge or rest; a sanctuary: Churches have traditionally been considered a haven for the poor.
heaven (HEV uhn) (noun)
1. The sky or the universe as seen from the earth; the firmament: Standing on the hilltop, Brenda looked up into heaven to count the stars.
2. The abode of God, the angels, and the souls of those who are granted salvation: The hymn that Ronda, and others, sang at church described heaven as a place for angels.
3. An eternal state of communion with God; everlasting bliss: William felt that he was in heaven when he listened to the beautiful music.
4. Any of the places in or beyond the sky conceived of as domains of divine beings in various religions: When Lenora and her friends discussed their spiritual beliefs, she was surprised to discover that all of them believed in the existence of heaven.

After the storm at sea, we sailed into the nearby haven which felt like heaven to the people after the terrible ordeal.

hay, hey
hay (HAY) (noun)
Grass which is grown specifically as a crop, and used as fodder for animals: The farmer is cutting his hay so it can dry and become food for his cattle.
hey (HAY) (interjection)
Used to attract attention or to express surprise, appreciation, wonder, or pleasure: Sally exclaimed, "Hey, come on and let's get going!"

The farmer shouted to his summer helpers, "Hey! It's time to bring the hay in before it starts raining."

hays, haze
hays (HAYZ) (noun)
A variety of feeds from dried grasses and other editable plant growth for livestock: The farmer kept various hays available for his animals.
haze (HAYZ) (noun)
1. Atmospheric moisture, dust, smoke, and vapor that diminishes visibility: When Josie got up that morning, there was a thick haze in the hills above where she lives.
2. A vague or confused state of mind: Nikki was stumbling around as if she were in a drug-induced haze.
3. Dimness, as of perception or knowledge: Harry was in a haze when it came to understanding the vocabulary terms on the quiz.

The new students at the Agricultural Farm seemed to be in a haze about the different kinds of hays they were trying to learn about.

he, he
he (HEE) (pronoun)
Used to indicate a male person or animal that is the subject of a verb: Maurice told Mary that he had been preparing for the trip to France since last year.

Marla was told that, as a stallion, he was a great riding horse.

he (HEE) (pronoun)
When referring to a person whose gender is unspecified or unknown: Before boarding, each passenger should make certain that he or she has a ticket.

Avoid using the generic he or him when the subject could be either male or female. Use the third-person plural or the phrase he or she (some grammar books say we should not use he/she).

It is also acceptable to write in the third person plural: "Before boarding, passengers should make certain that they have their tickets." It is grammatically unacceptable to write: "Before boarding, each passenger should make certain that they have their tickets."

A singular subject must have an applicable singular verb and a plural subject should use a plural verb.

—Based on information from
The Holt Handbook, Sixth Edition by Kirszner & Mandell;
Harcourt College Publishers; Philadelphia; 2002; page 476.

Lottie's friend said that he would buy the famous race horse because he would surely win the upcoming race.

heal, heel, heel, he'll
heal (HEEL) (verb)
To make well, to restore health: The doctor said, "This medicine will heal the blister on your foot."
heel (HEEL) (noun)
1. In humans, the back part of the foot below the ankle: When he removed his left boot, he discovered a blister on his heel.
2. The part of the hand closest to the wrist: She used the heel of her hand to knead the bread dough before setting it to rise.
3. An individual who treats others with contempt: Because he told so many lies, everyone thought of him as a heel.
heel (HEEL) (verb)
To follow closely behind another's step: The dog had been taught to heel when it went out for a walk with its owner.
he'll (HEEL) (pronoun/verb)
Grammatical contraction of "he will" or "he shall": Ryan said he'll call us when he gets home.

The cut on Mike's heel can't possibly heal in time for the basketball game; so he'll just have to wait until it gets better.

healthful, healthy
healthful (HELTH fuhl) (adjective)
That which is good for the well-being of a person's body and mind: The doctor prescribed a healthful diet and lots of outdoor exercise for a better body.
healthy (HEL thee) (adjective)
1. Prosperous, doing well in business: Keith had a healthy reputation as a bookseller.
2. Enjoying a physical and mental well-being that is free from signs of illness: For someone of his age, Bill is very healthy.

Sally feels very healthy and she is convinced that it must be because she follows a healthful routine of exercise, diet, and rest.

hear, hear, here
hear (HIR) (verb)
1. To gain information through sound received by the ears: During the night, Charles could hear the sound of the wind blowing in the trees.
2. To receive information from a trial witness: The judge will hear the witness today.
hear (HIR) (interjection)
An expression that expresses support or agreement for something that another person has just said: The crowd shouted, "Hear! Hear!" several times during the speech.
here (HIR) (adverb)
At a specific point or place: Stacie was told to place the dictionary here on the table by the window.

If a person won't listen over there, then he or she will have to hear me here!

heard, herd, herd
heard (HURD) (verb)
Having gained information by receiving sound in the ears: Albert heard a great shout in the distance.
herd (HURD) (noun)
A large group of animals, tame or wild, congregating in the same place: From the train window, Adriana could see a herd of buffalo in the distance.
herd (HURD) (verb)
To move or to attempt to move a group of animals from one place to another: The cowboys on horseback worked together to herd the cattle into the new pasture.

The cows were listening to the sounds coming from the direction of the forest and so the herd heard the wolves howling.

James, you have heard about Trina's herd of cattle, haven't you?

hearsay, heresy
hearsay (HIR say") (noun)
Information or evidence that is obtained through a secondary or indirect source: The witness was told that he cannot use hearsay in court.
heresy (HER i see) (noun)
1. Dogma or doctrine held by an individual or a group of individuals which is perceived as unacceptable or different to that of another religious group: The elderly priest considered as heresy the sermons preached in the church across the street.
2. An opinion or belief that is held contrary to generally accepted standards or practices: In a household of people who love cats, it is almost heresy to admit to being fond of dogs.

Before communication technology improved, there was always the risk that hearsay could be interpreted as heresy and get people into trouble.

hedge, hedge, hedgerow; hedgehog
hedge (HEJ) (noun)
1. A close-set row of bushes, usually with their branches intermingled, forming a barrier or boundary in a garden, lawn, yard, or field: When the cat saw Mildred walking in its direction, it jumped into the hedge.
2. An intentionally noncommittal or ambiguous statement: Josie's vague answers seemed to be a hedge against her potential support for the campaign.
3. Any technique designed to reduce or to eliminate financial risk; for example, taking two positions that will offset each other if prices change: Josie's broker told her that he uses an investment company that uses high-risk techniques as a hedge; such as, borrowing money and selling short, in an effort to make big capital gains.
hedge (HEJ, HEJ'd) (verb)
1. To avoid answering a question directly or definitely: Francisca could have given a straight answer, but instead she tried to hedge and wouldn't say why she couldn't come to the party.
2. To minimize loss or risk: Mildred invests her money to hedge against inflation and financial failure.
hedgerow (HEJ rohw") (noun)
A row of bushes, shrubs, or trees forming a barrier between properties, alongside roads, etc.: A traveler to Great Britain can see one hedgerow after another, many of which have been up for hundreds of years in certain parts of the England.

More information about hedgerows is available here.

hedgehog (HEJ hawg:) (noun)
Any of several small insectivorous mammals of the family Erinaceidae of Europe, Africa, and Asia, having the back covered with dense erectile spines and characteristically rolling into a ball for protection when it feels threatened: Keith said that he had seen an occasional hedgehog at night in his yard or even crossing the street.

The hedgehog was hiding in the hedgerow which was growing like a hedge in Jeremy's front yard. Since he didn't want the hedgehog to be caught, he tried to hedge his description of what he saw hoping that the hunter would believe he really saw a dog.

height, heist, hoist
height (HIGHT) (noun)
1. A reference to a vertical measure representing the distance from the bottom to the top: The height of the mountains was deceptive and the hiker was exhausted before reaching the summit.
2. To be at the top of something, tangible or otherwise: The actor was at the height of her stage career when she made her first film.
heist (HIGHST) (noun)
Something that has been taken unlawfully and often accompanied by violence: The bank heist made spectacular headlines in the local newspaper.
hoist (HOIST) (verb)
The act of lifting something by using a tackle: Harold will hoist the flag at daybreak.

The heavy machine operators decided to hoist their tools to a great height on the crane to prevent a heist of the equipment over the weekend.

hence, thence
hence (HENS) (adverb)
1. Proceeding from a specific time or place; later than the present time: What will life be like a century hence?
2. For this reason: Eugene was a newcomer and hence had no close friends at the university.

Leonard couldn't raise enough money; hence, he decided to withdraw from the next election.

thence (THENS) (adverb)
Proceeding from a specific place: The village chief ordered that all of the people go thence from their homes to reside in the mountains.

Curtis had moved to a new home, thence from the valley to the city, and hence he needed to find new local services.

her, her
her (HUHR,UHR) (adjective)
1. Used before a noun, the possessive form of "she"; relating to or belonging to a certain woman, girl, or female animal: Reggie understands that Louise bought her car today.
2. Made or done by a certain female: It's her turn to do the dishes.
3. Used to refer to a feminine gender who has been previously mentioned or whose identity is known: The postman left her package with Chris so Francine can pick it up when she comes home.

Since Karin said that she would go over the report again, Sam left it with her.

4. Used figuratively to refer to something having qualities or characteristics more often associated with women than men; such as, a ship, a car, a machine, or a country: Great Britain and her allies will stand up to the terrorist threats.
her (HUHR, UHR) (pronoun)
The objective form of she; used to refer to someone who represents the effeminate gender: Steve said, "Tell her that Bill appreciates the efforts that she made to help his family."

Stanley gave her the books so she can complete the research for the university course.

It was her intention to complete her degree by studying the history of Italy and her allies during the Renaissance; so, her professor sent her a book to use with her research.


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