Spelling in the English language can be confusing because there’s at least one exception for every spelling rule (such as the words “neither” and “weird” for the rule “I before E except after C”).
It can be especially confusing when dealing with homophones — words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings — because there may or may not rule that governs correct spelling for them.
And while technology has given us the spell-checking functionality in word processing software to help us have flawless spelling, there are two potential issues with relying on it. The essay writer free suggests that the first is that we may not always have access to a spell-checker, in which case we must know how to spell correctly on our own and/or have access to a dictionary to double-check our spelling. The second is that spell-checkers don’t check for context, so while a word may be spelled correctly, its usage in a given sentence might be incorrect, e.g. “There goes the neighborhood.”.
So what can we do when we don’t have a spell-checker or when using spell-check won’t help?
This article provides some tips and tricks for remembering the correct spelling of some of the most commonly misspelled words.
To Use or Not to Use, That Is the Question
Apostrophes, That Is
Apostrophes (‘) are used to indicate ownership or possession, to indicate plurals of abbreviations and symbols, and to create contractions — “a shortened form of a word or group of words, with the omitted letters, often replaced in written English by an apostrophe, as e’er forever, isn’t for is not, Dep’t for the department.”
Herein lies the problem. When it comes to certain words, the use of the apostrophe may be incorrect to indicate possession. In the case of contractions, it depends on the word whether using an apostrophe is appropriate.
One of the easiest ways to remember when to spell a word with an apostrophe, and when not to, is to use what I call the “slash method.” This is where you mentally replace the apostrophe (‘) with a slash (/) to easily determine if the contraction is the right way to spell what you want to say or if it isn’t.
Here are some of the most commonly misspelled and misused contractions and homophones:
It’s or Its
- Use “it’s” when you mean “it / is” (e.g. it’s red) or “it / has” (e.g. it’s been a long time).
- Use “its” only about ownership or possession, e.g. “Spinach loses many of its nutrients when cooked..”
The correct way to use them in a single sentence: “It’s a good book in general, but its ending was a disappointment.”
Who’s or Whose
- Use “who’s” when you mean “who / is” (e.g. Who’s there?) or “who / has” (e.g. Who’s been to the new restaurant?).
- Use “whose” only about ownership or possession, e.g. “Whose clothes are these?” or “I can’t say whose ideas are more creative.”
The correct way to use them in a single sentence: “Who’s going to find out who’s gotten angel investor funding and whose loan applications were approved?”
You’re or Your
- Use “you’re” when you mean “you / are” (e.g. you’re smart).
- Use “your” only about ownership or possession, e.g. “your kindness is appreciated.”
The correct way to use them in a single sentence provided by essaywriter.nyc: “When you’re smiling from the heart, your happiness spreads to everyone.”
They’re, There or Their
- Use “they’re” when you mean “they / are” (e.g. they’re busy”).
- “There” isn’t a contraction, but you can still use the slash method for it in some cases, such as when you mean “(no)t / here,” as in “Jane’s there, at her neighbor’s house.”
- Use “their” only about ownership or possession, e.g. “their house is on the corner.”
The correct way to use them in a single sentence: “They’re going there to get their books.”
Note: For all other uses of a word with the pronunciation “ther,” use the form “there,” as in…
- Hi there!
- There is no here or there.
- I’ll handle Phase I and you can take it from there.
- There, there, things will be fine.
- There seems to be a simple misunderstanding.
- There, it’s done.
- Hey, stop right there!
There’s or Theirs
- Use “there’s” when you mean “there / is” (e.g. there’s a hole in my jeans) or “there / have” (e.g. there’s been a mistake).
- Use “theirs” only about ownership or possession by “them” or an indefinite third person, e.g. “Those drinks are theirs” or “I’ll do my part and they can do theirs.”
The correct way to use them in a single sentence: “There’s no way to know if there’s been a mix-up and if these tickets are ours or theirs.”
Noun’s or Nouns
With “Joe” as an example of a noun:
- Use “Joe’s” (insert the noun of your choice) when you mean “Joe / is” (e.g. Joe’s outside) or “Joe / has” — as part of the present perfect verb conjugation (e.g. Joe’s bought a guitar) or to indicate ownership or possession of something by Joe (e.g. Joe’s sideburns).
- Use “Joes” only to indicate the plural, e.g. “average American Joes.”
The correct way to use them in a single (albeit unruly) sentence: “Joe’s one of the millions of average Joes, and like many of them, Joe’s had his car for more than 5 years, and Joe’s was made in the USA.”
Remember that apostrophes are used to indicate ownership or possession, to indicate plurals of abbreviations and symbols, and to create contractions. Therefore, do not include one in front of the “s” when writing the plural form of a noun, including the abbreviation of one when it is typically written without periods (e.g. CD). When in doubt, use the slash method to be sure.
- The plural of CD, DVD, MP3, table, country, and potato, to name a few nouns, is CDs, DVDs, MP3s, tablets, countries, and potatoes.
- Place an apostrophe in front of the “s” at the end of a noun when you mean “noun / is,” “noun / has” (present perfect verb conjugation), or ownership/possession, as in the CD’s brand new, the DVD’s been scratched, the MP3’s file size, the table’s being delivered, the country’s been in a recession and the potato’s starchiness.
- The exception is for abbreviations that are typically written with periods, such as M.D., D.D.S, Ph.D., etc. In these cases, DO use an apostrophe in front of the “s” at the end of the abbreviation to indicate either the plural or the possessive, e.g. “all the professors are Ph.D.’s” or “the M.D.’s patient load is overwhelming.”
About the author: John J. Gregg is an experienced free essay writer on essaywriter.nyc where he provides students with an opportunity to get high grades. Besides, He is fond of reading and playing the guitar. By the way, John dreams of traveling a lot and visiting as many countries as possible.