ails, ales

The words ails, ales sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do ails, ales sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: ails, ales are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of ail.

  2. :: verb

    Third-person singular simple present indicative form of ail.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of ale.

Definitions from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License and Wordnik.

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About Homophones

Homophones (literally "same sound") are usually defined as words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.

If they are spelled the same then they are also homographs (and homonyms); if they are spelled differently then they are also heterographs (literally "different writing").