One word, two pronunciations, two meanings

One word, two pronunciations, two meanings Espresso English

The meaning of the word changes depending on its pronunciation.

Learn 8 English words that can be pronounced two different ways – the meaning of these words change depending on their pronunciation!


progress (noun) – movement towards a goal or end point

“I’ve been making a lot of progress in my English speaking skills.”

pro-gress (verb) – the action of moving towards a goal or end point

“Medical technology is progressing very quickly.”

Idiom: If something is “a work in progress,” it means it is going on, but not yet finished.
“I heard you wrote a book!”
“Actually, it’s a work in progress.”
“Oh. Well, let me know when it’s published.”


re-cord (noun) – something that is put in writing (or another permanent form, such as audio, film or a computer database) to preserve the information

“Our records show that your order was shipped on January 13th.”

re-cord (verb) – the action of putting information in writing (or another permanent form) to preserve it

“Is it OK if I record today’s lecture? I’d like to listen to it again later.”

Slang: If someone says something “off the record,” it means it is not intended for publication.

“The president told the journalist that his statements were completely off the record.”


per-fect (adjective) – Complete, without errors, mistakes, or flaws

“She has perfect teeth.”

per-fect (verb) – To make something perfect or complete

“I’ve been studying English for a while, but I’d really like to perfect my pronunciation.”

export / import

ex-port (noun) – products or materials that are sent outside the country

“Coffee and soybeans are the country’s biggest exports.”

ex-port (verb) – the action of sending products or materials outside the country

“Twenty billion barrels of oil were exported in 2009.”

Note: The same applies for import and import.


pro-test (noun) – A group of people who are against or who disapprove of something

“There’s a huge protest happening in the city park – there must be 10,000 people there.”

pro-test (verb) – Taking organized action to disapprove of something

“The students protested when the teacher gave extra homework.”


re-bel (verb) – To use force to oppose a government or authority

“The people rebelled against the oppressive dictator.”

re-bel (noun) – A person who rebels.

“Fifteen rebels were killed in the battle.”

Note: “Rebel” is also used to describe a person who generally does things very differently from the established or generally accepted way: “My son’s a little bit of a rebel.”


per-mit (verb) – To let or allow

“Alcohol is not permitted inside the school.”

per-mit (noun) – Permission, usually in written or official form

“We need to get a building permit from the city before beginning construction.”


ob-ject (noun) – A thing, a physical item

“Babies often reach for shiny objects like earrings and necklaces.”

ob-ject (verb) – To be against, to express a disagreeing opinion

“I strongly object to the manager’s decision to cut employee benefits.”


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One word, two pronunciations, two meanings Espresso English

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