non-residence, non-residents

The words non-residence, non-residents sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do non-residence, non-residents sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: non-residence, non-residents are homophones of the English language.

non-residence
  1. :: noun

    The state or condition of being nonresident.

  2. :: noun

    A building, such as a commercial property, that is not a residence.

non-residents

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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").