I’m not writing this post to be some kind of big jerkface or anything. I am writing it because I have been asked by a few people on Plurk who genuinely do not understand the proper use of words I will be discussing below. Writing this does not mean that I am correct 100% of the time so if I ever make a mistake in a post don’t shoot me down.
There, their, and they’re.
Just a few tips to keep in mind to keep these straight. You will use there when referring to a place whether a physical place or abstract. There are two examples below.
Your shoes are over there on the floor. or There are so many fashion blogs!
Moving along.. to decipher when to use their you need to remember when using this form it implies a particular noun possesses the thing you are referring to.
Their clothes were all over the floor. In that sentence we use their because the clothes belong to someone.
Finally, we will look at they’re. Words with an apostrophe all work pretty similar. It’s important to think logically about what you are putting it in place of.
They’re at the mall. This implies that a group of people are involved. It can only be used as a subject (who or what does the action) or a verb (the action itself). They’re closing the mall at 6 tonight.
When you are trying to use these be mindful that any time you want to use you’re you could easily replace you are in that sentence.
Example: I hope you’re going to buy new news for the wedding, I really want to go shopping with you.
Anytime that rule wouldn’t fit then you’re going to use the your variation. Example: Your shoes are awesome, I wish I would have gone shopping with you.
Its and It’s.
These work very similar to the your and you’re statements above. When you say the sentence without the apostrophe it should make sense. It’s can be replaced with “it is” or “it has” so be careful to not use it incorrectly.
Its implies something is “of” or “belonging to”.
That store is known for its awesome sales.
It’s not my fault she was late because she lost her keys. Pay attention to the use of it’s and how it could say: It is not my fault… instead of using the ‘s.
It’s come to my attention … is a correct way to use it’s for it has.
I hope that makes sense to you all. That was one that I had issues with for awhile until I got it drilled in my head. When in doubt say it out. If it is or it has doesn’t work then use its instead.
To, too, and two.
This one is probably one of my biggest pet peeves of grammar after the your and you’re.
People often mix two up with the other two.
Two belongs with words that also begin with ‘tw’ like twice and twenty that involve the number 2. Two is a number so if you are not saying it in place of a number you won’t be using two in your sentence.
When deciding on what form to use if you are not talking about 2 of something try to remember the only meanings of too are also and in excess.
Your iPod is playing too loudly. The extra O should remind you that the word is adding on to something.
For all other instances you will use to.
I am going to the store to check out this huge sale I was told about.
If you keep the rules in mind you shouldn’t have a mix-up with those anymore.
I didn’t want to get too nit picky with all of this, I just really wanted to throw out some examples and little tips and tricks that I’ve used along the way for those who asked. Following the cut I will add just a few more challenge words that were suggested I cover but I didn’t feel were as necessary to make a huge point about.
Affect and Effect.
This one is pretty straightforward. The majority of the time you use affect with an a as a verb and effect with an e as a noun.
The injury affected my arm. The effect was a broken bone.
No and know.
When you want to confirm if what you’ve said is correct, no, is always used as a valid option for something. If you are not using the word as a valid option, then you know which form you need to use. (Hehe witty, no?)
Which and witch.
Which witch? They sound alike but they are completely different. One is a person and the other is not a person at all. A person may itch but a pronoun cannot. If you can memorize the phrase which witch itches it may help since each form will imply its meaning in context.
I really hope this post helps you out for those who were wondering about these variations of words. For those who knew already and ready anyway, I hope for you it was at least a good read. Also, thank you to the Plurkers who helped me think of what to include in this pose.