Nose vs knows

Nose and knows are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way when spoken aloud but are spelled differently and mean different things, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language, and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the words to, too and two, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words nose and knows, the word origin of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

A nose is an organ used to detect smells. A nose is also the primary organ for inhaling oxygen. The nose is located in the middle of the human face, above the mouth. Animals also have noses, though they are shaped differently. The word nose is also used to mean one’s sense of smell. Nose is used figuratively to mean one’s talent for something, or to mean the front end of an airplane or an automobile. Nose is used as a verb to mean to pry into someone else’s business, to search diligently, or to push something with one’s nose. The word nose is derived from the Old English word nosu. Related words are noses, nosed, nosing, nosy.

Knows means to be acquainted with a particular fact, to be aware of information because of direct observation or study, to be certain of something, to be familiar with someone or something. The word knows is derived from the Old English word, cnāwan, which means to perceive or identify. Knows is a verb, related words are know, knew, knowing.


An adorable young boy in Wales was dubbed “little real-life Pinocchio” by a proud mom because of his long nose resembling the Disney cartoon marionette’s own nose. (The Epoch Times)

Chinese and Russian warplanes have increasingly nosed around and veered into South Korea’s airspace, conducting close patrols that allow Beijing and Moscow to test the air defenses of the U.S. and its allies in the region. (The Wall Street Journal)

“She knows what she wants – whether it’s deciding to live away from William and Kate in her own home or having her mother by her side during the birth of her son.” (The Daily Express)

A spokesman for former President Bill Clinton said Monday that Clinton “knows nothing” about Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes after the billionaire financier pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking charges in Manhattan federal court. (USA Today)

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