Some words sound the same or are spelt the same way but mean different things. Here are some examples of such words commonly found in OET which have different meanings.
|Abduction||1st meaning (medical): Movement of a body part away from the main part of the body it is attached to|
2nd meaning: To be kidnapped
|1. This test will measure shoulder abduction strength.|
2. The rate of child abduction has decreased in the country.
|Cell||1st meaning (medical): Basic structure of a biological unit|
2nd meaning: A small room, commonly used to refer to a prison
|3. Brain cells usually die once a stroke happens.|
4. The prisoner is in cell 9 down the hall.
|Coma||A state of deep unconsciousness where a person cannot be awakened (medical)|
Sounds like: Comma (which is a punctuation mark used in writing)
|1. The patient has been in a coma for the past 3 months.|
2. You need to use a comma to separate items in a list like this: I like apples, bananas, oranges, and pears.
|Culture||1st meaning (medical): Cells or tissues grown for the a scientific purpose|
2nd meaning: Ideas and customs of certain groups of people in society
|1. You will need to collect some urine culture for analysis.|
2. This ceremony is part of the weddingculture of the people.
|Elevator||1st meaning (medical): A surgical tool used by doctors|
2nd meaning: A device like a box that goes up and down, commonly used to carry people or things
|1. The dentist will need to insert the elevator tip into the tooth socket.|
2. He has taken the elevator to the 11th floor.
|Fast||1st meaning: To not eat anything for a period of time|
2nd meaning: Moving or happening quickly
|1. You will need to fast for 8 hours prior to the surgery.|
2. You are driving too fast in the school zone.
|Genes||A part of the DNA which determine hereditary (medical)|
Sounds like: jeans (which means ‘trousers made of denim material’)
|1. His illness is caused by a gene mutation.|
2. He tore his jeans on a nail at the rodeo.
|Humerus||Long bone in the upper arm (medical)|
Sounds like: humorous (which means ‘something funny’)
|1. His pain is caused by a humerusfracture.|
2. I find that blog quite humorous.
|Stool||1st meaning (medical): The solid excretion discharged in a bowel movement|
2nd meaning: A type of seat without a back
|1. The doctor wanted to get a stool sample from the patient.|
2. The boy sat on a stool in class.
|Tissue||1st meaning (medical): A group of cells|
2nd meaning: A form of soft paper commonly used for cleaning
|1. Mr Mills just has some soft tissue injury but it still requires at least 6 weeks of rest.|
2. He wiped the table clean with a tissue.
|Vein||A blood vessel (medical)|
Sounds like: Vain (which means ‘being overly proud of oneself’ or it can also mean ‘not yielding a desired outcome’)
|1. The doctor wants to check the blood flow in the patient’s veins.|
2. If the minister does not approve this project, then all our efforts would have been in vain.
|Venous||Pertains to a vein (medical)|
Sounds like: Venus (which is the second planet from the sun in our solar system)
|1. He is suffering from venous insufficiency.|
2. The atmosphere of Venus is quite different from that of Earth’s.
There are many other words which you will discover as you read more. In your OET Writing sub-test, you will need to be very careful with the use of similar sounding words, especially when it comes to spelling, but with practice, you can get it right.