In English, there are a variety of different parts of speech. Do you know any words that can be used in both verb and noun, yet when used differently can have a completely different meaning? Sometimes when you are doing a reading comprehension exercise, you only know the meaning of the word in form of a verb. To master reading comprehension, you should also know the meaning in form of a noun!


1. Refuse

Common usage: (verb) do not accept

He refuses to answer to the questionnaire as he is in a hurry.


Less commonly use as: (noun) unwanted waste material

Kitchen refuses such as food waste is a major component of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong.


2. Air

Less commonly use as: (verb) To express an opinion

Customers can air their views through the suggestion boxes.


More commonly use as: (noun) the invisible gaseous substance surrounding the earth

This room has problems with ventilation. I have to go outside for some fresh air.


3. Address

Less commonly use as: (verb) to deal with a problem

The government should address the problem of the rise in domestic violence cases.


More commonly use as: (noun) a) the specific description of the place where somebody lives or works in b) a formal speech

a) We have moved. Please mail this letter to our new address.

b) The judge is going to deliver an opening address at the beginning of the trial.


4. Contest

Less commonly use as: (verb) to express disagreement in an opinion or decision

The tennis player contested with the judge’s decision that the ball has gone out of bounds.


More commonly use as: (noun) an event where people compete

Winning this beauty contest has built her a greater sense of confidence.


5. Draw

More commonly use as: (verb) to produce a picture using pens or pencils

He has drawn a beautiful picture.


Less commonly use as: (noun) a game where both teams have the same amount of points

The football match ended in a draw last Monday.