Monday, May 14, 2012

Grammar Police Monday - There They're


As an extension of our confusable homophones from last week, I've decided to tackle a few in particular. Some of you may find this lesson simple, but enough people get these wrong that I felt it was worth addressing. Let's start off easy...

Two, Too and To:
Two = the number of something. 
     Sally has two kittens.

Too = also / very.   
     I have kittens, too. They are too young to give away.
Note: When using 'too' to mean 'also,' set it off with a comma(s). [Edited 6-24-13: Apparently, the comma-before-too rule is no longer a rule. See this post for clarification.]

To is a preposition.  
     I took them back to their mother.

There, Their and They're:
There = location.   
     The ball is over there.

Their = possessive pronoun.   
     Hurry! Go get their ball!.

They're = contraction of 'they are.'  
     They're going to be angry if you lose their ball.

(Hint: If you can substitute 'they are,' then use 'they're.')

Whose and Who's:
This one often stumps people.

Whose = possessive form of 'who.'  
     Whose ball is that?

Who's = contraction of 'who is' or who has.'
     Peter is the one who's been stealing my ball. 

(Hint: Nouns form their possessives using an apostrophe. Ex: Carrie's ball.  Pronouns don't. Ex: The ball is hersThey only use them to form contractions. Ex: She's got the ball.)

Same thing goes for It's and Its:
Its = possessive pronoun. 
     The roof fell when we removed its support beam.

It's = contraction of 'it is' or 'it has.'   
     It's about time!

(Hint: Only use it's if you can substitute 'it is' or 'it has.' Use its for everything else.)

For a great resource, try Common Errors in English Usage

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*Blospot.com bloggers - consider turning off word verification (aka 'Captcha') to make it easier for your visitors to comment. Here's a great tutorial video that will lead you through the whole thing. Besides grammar, it's my current crusade. 

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11 comments:

  1. It drives me nuts when I see 'too' when it should be 'to'. It's one of those pet peeves of mine ;)

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    1. Or the reverse! LOL But I can't speak too loudly--I'm guilty of a typo here and there myself. :D

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  2. Love your grammar posts. These are all commonly misused. I'm so disappointed to find they don't teach grammar in the schools like they did when I was growing up... so I think you'll find these grammar problems will only get worse.

    Happy Mother's Day a day late.

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    1. Thanks. You're right--some don't. I'm lucky that, between my English teacher mom drilling it into my head and the grammar reviews I got while homeschooling a couple of my kids, I have a strong background in it.

      Happy Mother's Day to you, too. :)

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  3. Stopping in for my Monday grammar fix and feeling uber-smart because I knew all these! HA!

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    1. Hahaha! Good for you! :D
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. That's right. It's my ball, darn it! *Grins* Great post, Melissa!

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    1. *Hands over the ball and backs away*
      Uh. We're good. Right? :o
      :P
      Thanks for visiting. ;)

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  5. Hi, Mark. Thanks for visiting. I'm in awe of you, you know. Author, stay-at-home dad, and the list goes on. :)

    Visitors, this is the guy to follow for sure. ;)

    I think the follower button is toast, but I'll keep trying...

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  6. You've hit all my weak spots in one post! Lol! I may have to bookmark this (specifically for whose, who's). Thanks for another great lesson!

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