ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Common Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

Updated on January 26, 2013

Don't Rely On Your Spell-Checker

Its not very hard too spot the mistake’s in this first sentence of this hub or in it’s title, is it?

You’d think my spell-checker would have picked them all up, yet it would be quite happy for me to publish this as a title:

Sum Common Spelling and Punctuations Mistakes You Shooed Never Make

There is not a red or green wavy line in sight!

Word’s opinion of the first sentence is equally intriguing. It has underlined one word in green to indicate a grammar mistake. (See screen shot below.)

Yes, it has correctly identified it’s as wrong, but the first word: Its is equally wrong, and the grammar checker also ignored too and mistake’s.

The sentence should read:

It’s not very hard to spot the mistakes in this first sentence of this hub or in its title, is it?

Actually, the grammar checker does worse than ignore that first Its – when I made the correction, it wanted me to change it back! And how I wish I could tell you this tale of cyber incompetence ends there, but the sad truth it there is more!

Originally I started the sentence differently. See the screenshot below:

In this version the grammar checker indicated the same mistake as in the version above. I corrected it – and then a wavy green line appeared beneath the first its! (See screen shot below.)

So when it’s was wrong then its was right, but when its was right then its was wrong!

If your head is now spinning, you will be pleased to hear there’s actually a very easy way to remember when to use it’s or its.(People really are more intelligent than computers, because we can learn this but my grammar checker never will.)

Easy After All

An apostrophe is used in two ways only:

1) to show that a part of a word is missing

2) with a NOUN to indicate possession

If you bear this in mind it’s easy to see that using it’s instead of it is requires an apostrophe, but it might be harder to remember why you shouldn’t use it’s to say something belongs to it.

Here’s why:

It is not a noun, but a pronoun.

Pronouns are words used to replace nouns, and include: he, she, they, you and I. You don’t say he’s book, she’s pencil or they’s pens. And you don’t say it’s cover. Don’t trust your computer to pick up those mistakes either: mine has underlined they’s in red for a spelling mistake, and after changing its mind a few times it has settled on letting me know that it’s cover is a grammar error. (The correction it suggests for they’s is they’d – now you guessed that didn’t you? Nope? Me neither.)

I’m fairly certain most people know the correct usage is of course: his book, her pencil, their pens, and now that you realise that, it’s easy to see that the correct usage is also its cover. If you are still in any doubt, notice that in the paragraph above what the computer thinks I’ve written is: he is book, she is pencil or they is pens. That means if you write it’s cover what you are saying is: it is cover.

If You’d Like to Learn More and Have Fun Doing So

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
A witty and fun look at some common punctuation mistakes, and how their mis-use can lead to hilarity and confusion. Lynne Truss also writes about the history of punctuation in an informative and amusing way.

Even if you say: “the pencil is hers” you would not include an apostrophe and neither would you if it turned out the pencil was not hers but its. (I’m beginning to see why English might not be the easiest language to learn.)

Now I’ve got that off my chest – but not of my chest – here are a few more common mistakes that commonly drive me crazy.

Gentlemen, if your wife turns out to be a loose woman you may lose her, but you will never loose her nor can she be lose. And ladies, you may well lose your patience with me for writing such a sexist sentence, but it seemed the easiest way to show the difference between loose and lose. Loose is an adjective that means the opposite of tight; lose is a verb that means to part with or come to be without. So you cannot ever loose something though you could loosen it or lose it. For instance, one of those gentlemen previously mentioned, when drowning his sorrows after discovering his wife’s infidelity, could loosen his tie and then later lose it because he’d loosened up too much.

Many years ago I used to be an art teacher. Pupils frequently handed in essays containing such grammatical delights as could of, would of, should of. This would, of course, have been perfectly acceptable if used in the way I just have, but could’ve, should’ve, would’ve must’ve confused as many people over the years as its and it’s.

Still, those essays came in handy when I changed career; I used memories of them to create a scene in my first novel where the main character – an art teacher – finds it hard to know how to mark some essays about Van Gogh. This is what she’s up against:

Van Goff was a syco. He painted chairs. Naebody wants to look at chairs. He couldn’t even paint proply. He didn’t blend his colours and he must of been colour blind because he painted his face green.

And just in case anyone is wondering: could’ve, should’ve, would’ve are contractions for could have, should have … paid more attention to grammar at school. Would have if the teacher had made it more interesting!

Dedication and Homage

This Hub is dedicated to and inspired by a comment I recently read, saying that “we must get our work to it’s best before publishing it”. Please do feel free to point out all my grammar and spelling mistakes – I’ve laid myself open to that by writing this Hub!

I pay homage to Hubber Mark Ewbie, whose illustrations inspired me to flex my rusty artistic muscles.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)