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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


* 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. 

What's Captcha? Not sure if you have it? You can read more about it here. :)


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

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

  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.

    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. :)

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

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

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

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

  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...

  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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