3. Dialogs with Homonyms and Words with Multiple Meanings

Homonyms are two words that have the same pronunciation but are spelled differently and have different meanings. The words flour and flower, bare and bear are homonyms. In some items in Part A, one or more incorrect answer choices refer to a homonym of a word that is used on the audio, as in the example below.

Sample Items

You will hear:

M1: Eugene missed a lot of classes last week.
F1: That’s because he was sick. I think he had the flu.
M2: What is learned about Eugene?

You will read:

(A) He has been feeling weak for a long time.
(B) Because of sickness, Eugene was absent.
(C) Eugene’s eyesight isn’t very strong, so he needs glasses.
(D) Eugene flew to another city this week.

The answer is (B). The dialog contains the word week, meaning a seven-day period. Choices (A) and (C) refer to a homonym of that word, weak, which means “not strong.” The dialog also contains the word flu, an illness similar to a bad cold. Choice (D) refers to a homonym of that word, flew (took a trip by plane).

The dialogs may also contain words with multiple meanings. In these items, one or two of the answer choices refer to another definition of a word as it is used in the dialog.

Sample Items

You will hear:

F1: Are you sure this is how Lois spells her last name?
M1: It doesn’t look right, does it? In fact, I’m not even sure it starts with that letter.
M2: What does the man mean?

You will read:

(A) The letter to Lois was incorrectly addressed.
(B) Lois’s last name may be incorrectly spelled.
(C) Lois’s name appeared on the right side of the page.
(D) Lois hasn’t begun writing the letter yet.

The answer is (B). The dialog contains the words right, meaning “correct,” and the word letter, meaning a character in the alphabet. Choices (A) and (D) also contain the word letter, but in those choices the word has another definition–a message sent through the mail. Choice (C) also contains the word right, but in that choice, it refers to a direction–the opposite of left.

You won’t be confused by these items if you understand the entire dialog. Again, the context of the dialog can help you choose the correct answer. But if you focus only on single words, like week and flu or letter and right in the two samples, you can easily make mistakes.

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