some, sum

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

The answer is simple: some, sum are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adjective

    Being an unspecified number or quantity: Some people came into the room. Would you like some sugar?

  2. :: adjective

    Being a portion or an unspecified number or quantity of a whole or group: He likes some modern sculpture but not all.

  3. :: adjective

    Being a considerable number or quantity: She has been directing films for some years now.

  4. :: adjective

    Unknown or unspecified by name: Some man called.

  1. :: noun

    Mathematics An amount obtained as a result of adding numbers.

  2. :: noun

    Mathematics An arithmetic problem: a child good at sums.

  3. :: noun

    The whole amount, quantity, or number; an aggregate: the sum of the team's combined experience.

  4. :: noun

    An amount of money: paid an enormous sum.

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