ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Commonly Confusing Misspelled Homophones - Your/You're, Its/It's, To/Too, and More

Updated on December 9, 2015
Victoria Lynn profile image

I have an MA in English and teach English Composition part-time for my local community college. Grammar has always been a passion of mine!

What is a Homophone?

A homophone is a word that sounds like another word (or words) but is spelled differently. When spoken aloud, the hearer knows no difference, but when written the difference is obvious. We will look at five sets of the most commonly misspelled homophones. Four out of the five we review involve apostrophes. Learning how apostrophes are used basically for either contractions or possession should help you to avoid the common errors discussed in this article.

It's always helpful to have a grammar handbook to look up rules when you're in doubt.
It's always helpful to have a grammar handbook to look up rules when you're in doubt. | Source

Your vs. You're

Think about what the “re” stands for in “you’re.” The “re” is short for “are,” right? In this case, the apostrophe is used to contract two words together: "you" and "are." On the other hand, “your” is simply a possessive pronoun. I sometimes see written, “Your welcome” instead of “You’re welcome.” Remember that the phrase means that “you are welcome” rather than that you possess a welcome!

Correct Usage Examples:

Your wish is my command. (shows possession)

Do you think you’re going to the game? (contraction: you are)

Their, There, and They're

“They’re” is in the same category as “you’re.” Both words are contractions, a combination of two words. When in doubt, check to see if "they are" makes sense in the sentence. If it does not, then try the other two options.

“Their” is a possessive pronoun, as is “your," which we just looked at.

“There” refers to a place.Think of the places "here" and "there." "There" is "here" with a "t" added to it. Remember it that way.

Let’s look at the correct ways to use each word:

They’re at school right now but will be home later. (contraction: they are)

Have you seen their new car? (shows possession)

I think that the church is over there near the hospital. (location)

Its vs. It's

These two words are perhaps the most commonly miswritten homophones. There are two important things to remember when trying to decide which word to use. First, are you using a contraction of two words? Only if you wish to convey “it is" would you use the contraction “it’s.”

Use “its” without the apostrophe only for possession. But wait? Doesn’t possession require an apostrophe? Well, nouns do require an apostrophe to show possession, as in “the neighbor’s house.” But possessive pronouns are already possessive and do not need an apostrophe. Consider the pronoun we already discussed: “your.” Do we say “you’r dog”? No. We say “your dog” to show possession--without an apostrophe.

Consider the following possessive pronouns: your, his, hers, ours, theirs. Think about how funny they would look with an apostrophe to show possession. You’r purse? Hi's wallet? Or is it hers? Although “its” is, undoubtedly, more confusing because it can be confused with the contraction “it’s,” this possessive pronoun, like the pronoun family it belongs to, also shows possession without the use of the apostrophe.

Correct ways to use “its” vs. “it’s":

The cat licked its tail. (shows possession)

It’s probably going to rain later today. (contraction: It is)

Who's vs. Whose?

The easiest way to remember which word to use in this case is to ask yourself if the word you need is a contraction. Could the word you choose be replaced with “Who is”?

Let’s try it. Fill in the following blank.

____________ going to the game with me?

The correct answer is “Who’s” since “Who’s” could be replaced with “Who is.”

Whose is used when no contraction is needed.

Example: I would like to know whose silly idea this was! Since you couldn’t replace “whose” with “who is” in that sentence, the correct choice is “whose.”

To, Too, and Two

Finally, “to” versus “too.” I include “two” since it also sounds the same, but I rarely see it confused with the other two words. “Two” is simply the number 2. Let’s move on to the more difficult “to” and “too.”

A way to remember when to use “too” is to keep in mind that “too” has an extra “o” in the word. “Too,” then, is used when something is superlative, or “too" much.

Example: I have too much time on my hands. (Note the extra "o," meaning more)

“Too,” with the extra “o,” is used, too, in the same way that "also" is. Both are used when there is something extra, such as in the example: “I would like to go, too," or "I would like to go, also."

“To” is simply a preposition that indicates movement toward something. Remembering that “to” is a part of the word “toward” might be helpful, too, as their meanings are similar.

Correct Usages: Are they going to the meeting? I would like to go, too.

Using Homophones in Sentences

I heard that you’re going to the party in your own car. I don’t care whose car I ride in; my car is on its last leg. I don’t know who’s going to be there, either. The hosts sent their invitations early, and I think they’re expecting us to show up by 7:00. It’s 5:30 right now, a little too early to go. I have two parties to go to tonight, too!

September 2011 Grammar Geek

Quiz: Choose the correct answer.

view quiz statistics

© 2011 Victoria Lynn


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)