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Similar Sounding Commonly Confused Words: Hole and Whole


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The words hole and whole sound similar when spoken, but are different words.

The word hole is a noun. It can have multiple meanings:
(a) In one sense hole refers to: gap; opening; crack; fissure; hollow; aperture; cavity.
(b) In another sense hole refers to: flaw; weakness; fault; error; defect.

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The word whole can be used both as an adjective and as a noun.

As an adjective the meanings of whole are: complete; entire; full; intact; in one piece. Antonyms: partial; broken.

As a noun the meanings of whole are: total; entirety.


Sample Usage

Examples of hole when used as a gap or cavity:
1. The rabbit managed to escape down the hole before the fox could catch it.
2. The large hole in the ground was so deep that the villagers could not see the bottom at all.
3. The police put up a barricade around the hole as a safety measure so that nobody would fall into it.

Examples of hole when used to mean a flaw or error:
1. The manager pointed out to his boss that there was a major hole in the contract.
2. The player realized that if he had read the sponsorship agreement carefully he would have found the hole that gave a better deal to the sponsors than to him.
3. There were a few holes in the building plans.

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Examples of whole as an adjective:
1. It was a whole new ball game altogether.
2. It was better to consider the plan as a whole before starting the construction work.
3. The archaelogist realized it would be better to find the crockery set as a whole.

Examples of whole as a noun:
1. Since it was New Year’s eve, the children were allowed to stay awake whole night and play games.
2. Manohar preferred to cut the pizza into eight pieces rather than eat it as a whole.
3. The whole stadium was packed with spectators.


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