Tear and desert
‘Tear’ and ‘desert’ are words that are pronounced differently to indicate their meaning. The noun tear, which is a drop of fluid from the eye, rhymes with the word dear.
‘She shed a tear when her cat died.’
But when we use ‘tear’ as a verb, meaning to rip, it's pronounced 'tear' and that rhymes with the word 'bear'.
‘Don't tear the book.’
The noun ‘desert’ means a barren dry, sandy and often lifeless place.
‘It rarely rains in the desert.’
But when the word ‘desert’ is used as a verb, meaning to run away, it's pronounced 'desert'.
‘Don't desert me, stay and help please.’
When it's spelt with two Ss ‘desert’ is used to describe the part of a meal that is often eaten after the main course. It usually consists of something sweet.
‘I don’t think I'll have any dessert thanks, I am already full.’
Flickr CC: Elisa Banfi