Friday, March 15

Magic Word Tricks!

Last year, I wrote a post here on Cool Elf about some English words that look exactly the same but have different meaning and pronunciation. In short, they have exactly the same spelling, but they are completely different words.

image courtesy of stock.xchng

Think about our example sentences below:

I read a book every day.

I read a book yesterday.

Have you noticed the big difference in pronunciation between our 2 sentences above?

You should pronounce them this way:

I (reed) a book every day.

I (red) a book yesterday.

The word “read” is what we call a Heteronym.

Heteronyms are words that have exactly the same spelling (read : read), but they have different pronunciation (reed : red) and different meaning (present : past).

*Note: If you’d like to have a review of Heteronyms, just click the link below:

There are hundreds of Heteronyms in the English language and they always give confusion to learners like you.

Today we’re going to discuss 6 words that have a connection with Heteronyms. They are:  

# 1. Increase

# 2. Decrease

# 3. Rise

# 4. Drop

# 5. Fall

# 6. Result


Before we start, I have to warn you that on our list, only the first 2 words (“increase” and “decrease”) are real Heteronyms. This is because, like what we said, a Heteronym changes pronunciation.

Take a look:

Difference in Pronunciation

As a Noun

As a Verb

dee-krees /   dih-krees


In our table above, the words come in a Noun & Verb pair. In fact, many Heteronyms are like this.

Here are more examples:

Difference in Pronunciation

As a Noun

As a Verb

uh-dres / ad-res



prez-uh nt



In most cases, the difference depends on where you put the stress or emphasis (the bold font in our table). And if you look deeper, you will realize that usually the Noun form is stressed on the first syllable while the Verb form is stressed on the second syllable.

*Note: If you aren't familiar with the meaning of "syllable," please read this link: 

This rule of syllables is a helpful pattern that you can remember when studying Heteronyms.  

Part of Speech

On the other hand, the 4 other words on our list (rise, drop, fall, result) are not Heteronyms simply because they do not change pronunciation.

But still, they share a similar ability with Heteronyms because they also switch their Parts of Speech.

Take a look:

Rise (Noun) vs. Rise (Verb)

Drop (Noun) vs. Drop (Verb)

Fall (Noun) vs. Fall (Verb)

Result (Noun) vs. Result (Verb)

It’s a very common thing in English when a word is used as many different types (Noun, Adjective, or Verb) even though its spelling doesn’t change.


Complete (Adjective) vs. Complete (Verb)

As you might have already experienced, this can be very difficult especially when you are learning Vocabulary and making sentences.

How to Use

When you have the problem of Heteronyms and other words that easily change their type, the best solution is to improve your Vocabulary. A wide Vocabulary can prevent you from getting confused when you are using a word with the same spelling as another. 

You just have to remember that, for example, the word “result” is a Verb but, sometimes, “result” can also be a Noun.

First, make sure that you know what type of word you need (Noun, Adjective, or Verb) to make your sentence, then forget about the other word that has the same spelling.

This way:

  • Verbs

The population increased.

The number of participants has decreased.

The patient’s blood pressure will rise.

The crime rate drops.

Productivity might fall.

  • Nouns

There was an increase.

There has been a decrease.

There will be a rise.

There is a drop.

There might be a fall.

Notice the very handy pattern when you are using the Noun form of the words:

There + Be + Noun


There is

There was

There has been

There will be


Of course you should change the Tense of your sentence depending on the situation. (And please don’t forget the Article “a.”)

You can also add Adjectives to make your sentences even better. Like so:

There was a slight increase.

There has been a significant decrease.

There will be a considerable rise.

There is a moderate drop.

There might be a rapid fall.

Lastly, if you want to make your sentences longer, you should remember that all the Noun forms above must be followed by the Prepositionin.”

This way:

There was a slight increase in the population.

There has been a significant decrease in the number of participants.

There will be a considerable rise in the patient’s blood pressure.

There is a moderate drop in the crime rate.

There might be a rapid fall in productivity.

As a Result

With our last word “result,”

Result (Noun) vs. Result (Verb)

You can use it in 2 ways:

Noun: Result + of

Verb: Result + in


His lung cancer was a direct result of his constant smoking. (Noun)

His constant smoking resulted in lung cancer. (Verb)

Hope You Learned Something! 

Keep on learning !

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