presence, presents

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

The answer is simple: presence, presents are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Immediate proximity in time or space.

  2. :: noun

    The state or fact of being present; current existence or occurrence.

  3. :: noun

    The area immediately surrounding a great personage, especially a sovereign.

  4. :: noun

    A person who is present.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of present.

  2. :: verb

    Third-person singular simple present indicative form of present.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, 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").