Sign vs sine

Sign and sine are two commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, 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, and homophones are commonly misused words. Said aloud, the difference is less important, because the words are pronounced 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 and understand the correct spelling; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the word pairs to, too and two, bridle and bridal, creek and creak, hoard and horde, toed and towed, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other and are easily confused and are commonly misused. 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. Homophones are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words sign and sine, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

A sign is a mark or shape that signifies something with a particular meaning or is an indication of something occurring. A sign is also a notice such as a political yard sign, a billboard or a public plaque. Something that is miraculous or portends something may be called a sign. Sign is also a verb which means to write one’s name on a letter, statement or contract affirming one’s authorship or that one agrees with the document. The verb sign may mean to communicate in sign language or to enter into a contract with someone. Related words are signs, signed, signing.

Sine is a trigonometric function in mathematics. Sine is the ratio of the opposite side of a specified acute angle in a right triangle to the hypotenuse.


Ohio leaders and Jewish groups are speaking out against anti-Semitism after photographs from an April 18 stay-at-home order protest outside the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus showed a man holding an anti-Semitic sign. (The Cleveland Jewish News)

With April being Child Abuse Prevention Month, the GFWC Woman’s Club of Mingo placed pinwheels at the south end of town beneath the sign made possible because of the club. (The Weirton Daily Times)

For example, they can still sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act — former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law that President Donald Trump has fiercely fought to strike down since he first took office three years ago. (The Business Insider)

In the last several years, Betelgeuse has been dimming a bit which some astronomers take as a sign that the explosion is coming soon. (The Post Bulletin)

The 18-year-old senior watched as a video stream of his pre-calculus teacher flicked onto the screen and began taking notes as her voice explained the intricacies of how to chart sine and cosine equations. (The Houston Chronicle)

Determining how to make the angled cuts took us back to our high school trigonometry days and had us YouTubing how to achieve sine and cosine angles. (The Daily World)

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