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

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

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

tern, terne, turn, turn
tern (TURN) (noun)
Any of a number of sea birds that are smaller than the typical seagull and are characterized by narrow wings, forked tails, and a white body with a black cap: "I could watch the tern sweep the sky for hours because it was so graceful."
terne (TURN) (noun)
An alloy of tin and lead used as a coating in the production of terne plate: "The master foundry operator knew the secret formula to produce terne; also known as terne plate."
turn (TURN) (verb)
1. To take a short walk: "We will turn into the park and go for a walk because the day is so fresh and lovely."
 2. To appeal for assistance: "She decided to turn to her family for the money she needed to start up her new business."
3. To become or to gradually change: "The weather is expected to turn very cold over night."

"She had to turn the key in the lock to the right in order to open the door."

turn (TURN) (noun)
1. The activity of doing something in agreed upon steps: "We each took our turn standing in line for the special concert tickets."

"We were playing checkers and it was my friend's turn to make a move."

 2. To appeal for assistance: "She decided to turn to her family for the money she needed to start up her new business."
3. An expected or unanticipated change in the direction something is going: "The turn in the road was so sharp that she had to slow the car down so she wouldn't have an accident."

My friend and I took a short turn on the beach being careful not to step on the tern nest.

Our conversation took an unexpected turn when my friend mentioned that he had discovered a new formula to make terne.

than, then
than (THAN) (conjunction)
1. A function word that is used to indicate a difference or diversity: "We have had more rain than sunshine this winter."

"We have seen more pedestrians walking in this city than we ever see in our hometown."

2. Used to introduce the second or last of two or more things or people that are being compared: "Ten is less than fifteen."

"He can run faster than his brother."

3. Used to say that something happens immediately after something else: "No sooner did I ask where my wife was than she came into the room."
then (THEN) (adverb)
1. At the time mentioned or belonging to a specific time: "He was then the vice president in charge of advertising."
2. Soon after, following next in a sequence, or used to indicate what happened next: "In the circus parade, first came the clowns then came the horseback riders."

"We walked down the street, then we found our friend waiting on the corner."

  3. A function word used to make a final statement that refers back to the things that have just been mentioned or described: "These words, then, are the most applicable for this context."

"Both of us, then, must accept some responsibility for these results."

To simplify these words, we should remember that than is used more often to indicate a comparison; while then usually indicates some form of time sequence.

Examples include: "The new shopping center is bigger than the old one."

"The scientist did his research; then he wrote the report for the university."

I would rather be inside and cool than outside and hot. Then I would be so uncomfortable I would just sit in the shade and wait for the sun to go down.

their, there, they're
their (THAIR) (pronoun)
A collective pronoun to indicate possession or ownership of something by more than one person: "The new table was their first purchase after the couple was married."
there (THAIR) (adverb)
1. To indicate the position or placing of something in a specific location: "Please put the chair there, next to the fireplace."

"All I can tell you is that she was sitting there a minute ago."

2. An expression used to indicate something that has caused frustration and is now accomplished: "There, the dishes are finally done and put away; so, now we can go shopping."
3. At a point in a process, activity, story, etc.: "Stop right there, before you say something you will regret."
4. Used to introduce a sentence in which the subject comes after the verb: "There is nothing we can do about it now because it is simply too late."

"There's still a lot for us to do on this project, don't you agree?"

5. Used to show satisfaction, approval, or encouragement: "There, it's finally finished and you helped so much to make it possible."
they're (THAIR) (pronoun)
Used as a contraction of they are: "They're here earlier than they said they would be."

"We still might be able to get some more milk at the store, but it all depends on whether they're still open."

They’re hanging their coats over there on the coat rack.

Several students are in the play; so, if they’re not up here on the stage, then they must be out there in the audience with their parents.

therefor, therefore
therefor (THAIR for") (adverb)
1. In exchange for (now considered archaic): "I am returning this suit and wish a refund therefor."
2. For that: "I am ordering clothes as indicated and enclosing payment therefor."
therefore (THAIR for") (adverb)
Consequently, as a result, for that reason, as this proves: "I have had enough rest, and therefore I will go back to work, now."

"I hate worms; therefore, I avoid digging in the garden."

Therefore normally appears at the beginning of a clause and may be followed by a comma. If it appears parenthetically within a clause, it has a comma before and after: "It appears, therefore, that he must be guilty."

The long letter from the customer stated in part; therefore, I am returning the unopened box and I request a refund therefor.

this, that, that
this (THIS) (pronoun)
1. Something that is close at hand and under immediate discussion or observation: "We will continue to discuss this at our next meeting."
  2. Something or someone near in time, place, etc.: "This is the person I wanted you to meet."
3. What has been indicated in a subsequent expression: "I will say this about my best friend; she is always there when I need her."
that (THAT) (conjunction)
A function word used to introduce a noun clause, often used instead of a direct quotation; used to introduce an exclamatory clause: "She said that he was the president of the soccer club at school."

"I was upset that the conflict between the students and the faculty should result in such mudslinging!"

that (THAT) (pronoun)
Used to identify a person, a thing, an idea, etc. as indicated or mentioned before: "We were introduced at a dance and after that we saw each other quite often."

Look at this, it is really something. She thinks that we should write to our professor about it.

thong, throng, throng
thong (THAWNG, THAHNG) (noun)
1. A narrow strip of fabric: "He used a leather thong to mend the saddle."
2. A sandal which is fastened to the foot using a narrow strip of fabric which goes between the toes and is fastened around the foot and ankle: "My left thong came undone and fell off while I was walking on the beach."
throng (THRAWNG, THRAHNG) (noun)
A large number of people gathered together in a location: "We watched the throng gather in anticipation of the concert in the park tonight."

"A throng of fans was waiting for the players to arrive."

throng (THRAWNG, THRAHNG) (verb)
To gather together or to crowd into a location: "After class, they decided that they would throng to the local coffee shop to celebrate passing their examinations."

"Shoppers will throng the mall for the sales that will be available next week."

Just for fun I took a survey of the throng at the beach to see how many were wearing thongs that included leather thongs as part of their compositions.

thorough, throughout
thorough (THUR oh, THUHR oh) (adjective)
1. Exhaustive, detailed, complete, or painstaking: "We conducted a thorough search of my closet in hopes of finding my missing shoe."

"The police were thorough in their investigation of the bank robbery."

2. Having mastery or competence in something: "Her reputation was based on being a thorough and competent violinist."
throughout (throo OUT) (preposition/adverb)
During the entire time; from beginning to end: "Throughout the entire summer, she read six books and went to two movies."

Throughout the time it took the police to complete a thorough investigation of the car accident, we were not allowed to leave the scene.

Fortunately, my friend was a thorough master of the harmonica and so he played so we could more easily pass the time away.

thrash, thresh
thrash (THRASH) (verb)
1. To whip, to hit, or to defeat: "Because of his disobedience, the school master said that he would have to thrash the student."

"Our team is determined to thrash the competition this year!"

2. To beat the stalks and leaves of a plant to separate the desired seeds from the leaves and stems of plants: "The weather is perfect so we will thrash the wheat this afternoon."
3. To move about or to strike violently: "When I first learned to swim, I would thrash about in the water."
thresh (THRESH) (verb)
1. To toss about: "I am so tired this morning because I am sure all I did was thresh in bed all night."
2. To separate grain from the plant on which it was grown using mechanical procedures: "The new machine in the barn will thresh the grain more quickly than doing it by hand."

During my summer work experience on the farm, I used a flail to thrash the grain; however, on the first night after a day of threshing the wheat, I was so tired that all I could do was thresh around in my sleep, trying to find a comfortable position.

threw, through, thru
threw (THROO) (verb)
1. To have tossed something to another person by using the arm: "The catcher threw the baseball to third base and the runner was out."
2. To have fallen off or to have fallen down: "The horse threw a shoe and was limping."

"She was upset and threw herself down on the sofa to have a good cry."

3. To put something on or to take something off in a casual way: "I threw on my coat when I went outside to watch the sunset."
4. To have given or organized an entertainment: "My sister threw a party for me when I went to visit her."
through (THROO) (preposition)
1. Going into one side and out the other side of something: "He hit the nail through the wood in the door frame."

"She looked through the binoculars so she could see what was happening on the other side of the river."

2. Progressing without stopping: "He accidentally drove through the red light at the intersection."
3. Used to describe a movement within a space or an area of land, air, etc.: "They rode their bicycles through the woods."
thru (THROO) (preposition)
An informal spelling of through: "We drove thru the towns along the river during our vacation."

After her son accidentally threw a baseball through the window next door, he went to his mother to exclaim, "I'm sorry I threw the ball thru our neighbor’s window."

thrill, thrill, trill, trill
thrill (THRIL) (noun)
A quivering or trembling caused by sudden excitement or emotion: "She so excited that she was unable to explain the thrill she got from seeing and talking with her favorite actor this evening."
thrill (THRIL) (verb)
To cause someone to feel very excited or happy: "Circus performers still thrill audiences today."
trill (TRIL) (noun)
A high-pitched warbling sound, especially one made by a bird: "You could hear the trill sounds being made by the birds in the pet shop."
trill (TRIL) (verb)
To make a consonant sound by two vocal organs vibrating rapidly against each other; for example, the tip of the tongue vibrating against the ridge behind the front teeth: "You can hear him trill his r's when he speaks."

Every time I went to hear the famous soprano sing, it gave me a thrill to hear the way she could trill the high notes in the arias.

throes, throws, throws
throes (THROHZ) (noun)
Difficult or painful struggles: "She was in the throes of sorrow due to the loss of her favorite aunt."
throws (THROHZ) (verb)
1. To cast or to toss from one individual to another: "He throws a fast ball when he is on the pitcher's mound.
2. To cause or to create: "The sun throws long shadows across the land at the end of the day."
throws (THROHZ) (noun)
A light blanket or covering for a piece of furniture: "The new throws on the chairs in the front room look bright and fresh."

I noticed that her throes of sadness happened every day just as the sun throws a shadow across the window.

throne, throne, thrown
throne (THROHN) (noun)
A chair typically associated with royalty or with the head of a religious organization: "The bishop sat on the throne to listen to the petitions of the pilgrims."

"The king's throne was decorated with gold and gems."

throne (THROHN) (verb)
To invest an individual with royal authority and responsibilities: "The bishop will throne the queen today in a fairy tale ceremony."
thrown (THROHN) (verb)
1. To have or to be overcome by something or a situation: "She was not thrown by the difficult physics problem on her examination."

"He was thrown with emotion when he realized his friend was not hurt in the accident."

2. To have dashed or to hit something violently: "During the storm, the ship was thrown against the reef and was badly damaged."
3. To have built, constructed, or exerted oneself to do something: "The construction company has thrown together a shed for storing all of their equipment."

"He has thrown all his influence into the proposal to build new houses."

The king was so angry that he hurled the royal chair at his military minister; in other words, the throne was thrown as an expression of the king's displeasure.

throw, throe
throw (THROH) (verb)
1. To cause confusion or to cause a fall: "She was afraid she would throw her opponent during the debate by asking about a very sensitive issue."

"It was easy for the horse to throw the rider because she was not holding the reins properly."

2. To put someone or something in a position or situation: "She was sure that when her little sister got home, she would throw her arms around the tree in the front yard because she would be so happy."
3. To roll or to cast something: "He watched the man throw a pair of snake eyes when he rolled the dice."
throe (THROH) (noun)
1. An experience of a spasm or a pain: "She was in the throe of her first love affair because her boyfriend broke up with her."
2. A difficult struggle or experience: "The economic throe of the nation is reflected in the struggle experienced by the artistic community."

I thought I would throw a temper tantrum if we had to face the throe of a flat tire while we were crossing the dessert.

thrust, thrust
thrust (THRUHST) (verb)
To push someone or something with force; to shove: "She thrust her way through the crowd by pushing people aside so she could get on the last train to her home."

"It was so cold when he stepped outside that he thrust his hands into his pockets so they could be warmer."

thrust (TRUHST) (noun)
1. The main point or meaning of something: "He agreed with the main thrust of the argument in the article."
2. The main concern or purpose of something: "The major thrust of the scientific team's research will be to find practical applications."
3. The pushing or pulling force exerted by a power plant; such as, an aircraft engine or rocket engine: "When a passenger plane takes off, it is necessary that passengers and staff members are all seated or they could be knocked down from the resulting thrust of the aircraft as it ascends into the air from the airport runway."

The thrust of the feature article in the paper was that a celebrity got upset at the paparazzi and thrust them aside as she got out of her car.

thumb, thumb
thumb (THUM) (noun)
One of the digits on the hand: "I hit my thumb with the hammer and it really hurts!"
thumb (THUM) (verb)
1. To glance quickly through a book: "I was in a hurry and had very little time, so I could only thumb through the new chemistry book before class started."
2. An expression meaning to catch a ride when an individual is hitchhiking: "I will thumb a ride to town instead of taking the bus."

I used my thumb to mark my place in the recipe book while I tried to thumb through the other pages looking for another recipe.

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