- Books, Literature, and Writing
Grammar Mistakes NO ONE Should Make Part I
1. THEIR v. THERE v. THEY’RE
Use THEIR when you’re trying to show possession
- The kids are wearing their bathing suits.
Use THERE when you’re trying to show location
- The bathing suits were left there.
Use THEY’RE when you are saying “they are”
- They're going back to the beach because they left their bathing suits there.
2. YOUR v. YOU’RE
Use YOUR when you’re trying to show possession
- Gee, your hair smells terrific
Use YOU’RE when you are saying “you are”
- You're going to be sorrily disappointed with that shampoo.
3. ITS v. IT’S
Use ITS when you’re trying to show possession
- The dog is chasing its tail.
Use IT’S when you’re saying “it is”
- It's a nice day for a white wedding.
4. AFFECT v. EFFECT
Use AFFECT as a verb (unless you’re talking about someone’s mood)
- Her opinion was affected by the advertisement.
Use EFFECT as a noun
- The advertisement clearly had an effect on her opinion.
5. LACK OF SUBJECT-PRONOUN AGREEMENT
Okay so now you know how to properly use “their,” but you might still be misusing it. NEVER use THEIR to show possession of a singular person/thing. For example:
It is incorrect to say: The person speaking should raise their voice.
The word “person” denotes that one person is speaking. You could correct this error using the following methods:
- The person speaking should raise his/her voice.
- The person speaking should speak louder. (I prefer this solution, as it avoids the issue altogether).