You probably have heard the commercial running on TV now where two guys are eating fast food-
1st guy: "I woke up this morning with some serious hunger pains."
2nd guy: "Pains? You mean pangs?"
1st guy: "Pangs? That's weird."
2nd guy: "No, that's English."
Point being- if you speak English, you really need to lean how to speak English.
Yes, this post is about common mistakes. Not everybody even NOTICES these mistakes, I realize that. But they jump out at me. My Mother was an English teacher, I can't help it. Now, before you say "I don't care about English mistakes", you need to understand that there is a certain segment of the population, whether cursed by parentage like me or for some other reason, for whom these kinds of mistakes say "IGNORANCE". Wouldn't you really rather look SMART?
So hang in there- here we go:
There is location (there it is) or a kind of "state of being" (there will be cookies).
They're is short for they are (they're here).
Their is possessive, meaning it belongs to them, (their houses are for sale) Isn't every body's?
Your is possessive (your buyer is here) I can dream.
You're is short for you are (you're right about that).
Too is used as a degree of something (too much, too hard) or once in awhile as emphasis (I do, TOO).
To is location (I'm going to the house) or intention (I'm going to sell you a house).
Two is, of course, number (I have two buyers) I can WISH.
I am, too, going to sell you two houses. So there.
It's is short for it is (it's English).
Its is a possessive- something belongs to it (what is its address?)
Contractions for words like you're for you are and it's for it is, have an apostrophe (').
USUALLY possessives (that is Joe's house) also have an apostrophe with an "s". My husband is named Les, if a name ends in s, don't add another s, just a "'" (I'm Les' wife, not Les's wife).
Its- the possessive, is the exception, no apostrophe. I have no idea why.
When making a word plural (there's more than one of them) just add an "s"- NOT an apostrophe (I have 4 buyers) Sure I do.
Then there's another category of "wrong English" which involve common phrases, "hunger pains (pangs)" is an example. Here's some I've seen:
Spear of influence (it's SPHERE).
I'm doing that weather or not you want me to (it's whether).
I could care less (it's COULDN'T care less).
Witch one do you want? (it's which).
Tenants to live by (it's tenets).
It isn't hard to get these right. It's WAY easier than passing the RE test. You don't even have to LEARN them, just have a cheat sheet- a paper on your desk, a file on your computer, that you can check when you're writing.
You can also Google words. That's how I finally got it's/its right. I used the wrong one for years. I finally Googled the words together, and found several web sites that told me the right usage. If you aren't sure about a phrase, try Googling it and looking at some of the sites that come up.
Feel free to add to these. I know I use 12am and 12pm wrong, which one is noon, and which one is midnight? Can you enlighten me?