Are you confused?

Some words in English are homophones — that means they sound the same, but they are spelled differently and have different meanings. For example, the words bear and bare have the same pronunciation. However, bear means a kind of animal, and bare means naked.

Choosing the right homophone can be confusing when you are writing. If you write the wrong homophone, it also confuses the reader.

Here are some common homophones that you probably use when you write in English. Take time to be sure you use the right word, and your writing will be clearer.

 

 

Your/You’re

Your is a possessive determiner. Use your before a noun.

  • Your essay is very good.

You’re is a contraction, or a short form of you are. You can use it in place of you are in informal writing.

  • You’re a good friend.

There/Their/They’re

There is an adverb of place.

  • She put her backpack there.

There can also be used as the subject of a sentence.

  • There are 50 states in the U.S.

Their is a possessive determiner. Use their before a noun.

  • They are going to take their test this afternoon.

They’re is a contraction, or a short form of they are. You can use it in place of they are in informal writing.

  • They’re planning a trip to the beach.

It’s/Its

It’s is a contraction, or a short form of it is. You can use it in place of it is in informal writing.

  • It’s a beautiful day.

Its is a possessive determiner. Use its before a noun.

  • I can’t drive my car because its brakes don’t work.

 

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar
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