Even the most experienced writers still make grammatical errors from time to time. The famous American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne once said that “Easy reading is damn hard writing”.
There are always some common spelling and grammatical errors that pop up to disturb the flow and comprehension of any story. Identifying and fixing these usual suspects will put you ten steps ahead of the writing game.
They’re, their and there
- They’re is short for. “They’re English.” (“They are English.”)
- Their is the possessive of they. “I like their English accents.”
- There indicates a place. “They live there.”
You’re and your
- You’re is short for you are. “You’re right.” (“You are right.”)
- Your sits before a noun (word) to show that it belongs to it. “That is your opinion.”
It’s and its
- It’s is short for it is. “It’s raining.” (“It is raining.”)
- Its denotes ownership. “A leopard can’t change its spots.”
To and too
- To denotes distance or movement. “I went to the movies.”
- Too denotes something in addition to. “I too want to go to the movies.”
Then and than
- Then denotes time. “We went to dinner, then we went home.”
- Than compares. “Nike is better than Adidas.”
Who’s and whose
- Who’s is short for who is. “Who’s that?” (“Who is that?”)
- Whose denotes ownership. “Whose jacket is that?”
Let’s and lets
- Let’s is short for let us. “Let’s go to the park.” (“Let us go to the park.”)
- Lets is a verb. “He lets me use his computer.”
Loose and lose
- Loose is a noun, as in “loose cannon” or “my belt is loose”.
- Lose is a verb, as in “don’t lose the race” or “don’t lose your phone”.
Affect and effect
- Affect is a verb, while effect is when you’re talking about the noun (word) itself. An experience can affect you deeply, while the experience had a great effect on you.
A lot and alright
- A lot is always two words. Always.
- Alright as a word for ‘satisfactory’ has grown in popular usage, as opposed to all right, which means ‘everything is fine’. To be on the safe side always use all right.
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