Practice Safe Text: Most Commonly Misused Words


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In the age of texting, twitter, facebook, emails, and so on, we all tend to type a little too quickly and try to say a little too much in too few words. One very unfortunate result is that grammar and spelling take a major backseat. I don’t care if you’re limited to 140 characters, I never want anyone to say “ur” to me…

I am making up this fact, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that women read more than men do, hence they are usually more in-tune with misuse of words and poor spelling. That’s not to say they are necessarily smarter than their male counterparts… but I’ve met many a woman who was a big stickler for grammar. They’ve specifically told me that not writing or speaking properly is a deal breaker in their book.  So, your dirty text message that says “I want to stick my ____ in you’re ____” might not go over too well.

I’ve compiled for you a list of the most commonly misused words in texts, emails, and on social networking sites.

Your vs. You’re

This is an easy one: “You are” = “You’re.” That’s it.

“Your” is the possessive form of “you,” so “your phone” and “your book” are correct uses. Most commonly people misuse “Your” in place of “You’re.” So, instead of saying “You are you going to love this,” they type, “Your going to love this.” This is so wrong that it makes me cringe.

Their vs. They’re vs. There

We’ll start with the most commonly misused one. Many people misuse “Their,” or don’t use it at all. “Their” is possessive. “I walked their dog” is one example, meaning you walked a dog owned by them (whomever they may be).

Next, “They are” = “They’re.” Example, “They’re coming to dinner.”

Finally, “There” has many correct uses, so listing them all would be tough. “There is it” and “I went there” are both correct examples, but “there” can be used as an adverb, pronoun, noun, and adjective.

We’re vs. Were

Yes, these are spelled exactly the same, minus the apostrophe, but that’s no excuse to mess it up.

“We are” = “We’re.” Easy.

“Were” is an easy one too. Example, “We were there,” or “There were cool clothes there.”

Its vs. It’s

This one can seem a bit tricky. On face value people tend to think, use an apostrophe to indicate possession. So, they are tempted to use “it’s” when saying things like “the dog lost it’s toy.” This is wrong. “It’s” means “it is,” and that’s it. The only time to use “it’s” is directly in place of “it is.”

Whereas “its” is an adjective that indicates possession. For example, “Italy has its own style.”

Then vs. Than

“Then” often refers to time or sequence. “I went to the gym then to the bank” or “The price is $10 but then there’s tax.”

“Then” can also be used to mean therefore. “I feel fat” – “Then go the gym.”

“Than” is used for comparisons. “I am smarter than you.”

To vs. Too vs. Two

“To” is most often used as a preposition. “I want to go there.”

“Too” is an adverb, and typically meaning in addition, or refers to degree. “I want to go too” (meaning “I want to go also”) or “She is too good for him.”

“Two” is 2. If you can’t get that one straight, you probably have bigger issues to deal with than is article.

Weather vs. Whether

“Weather” is what mother nature is doing outside.

“Whether” means if. “I wonder whether she is coming?”

Whose vs. Who’s

These words are very frequently misused because they follow the same irregular grammatical pattern as “it’s” and “its.”

“Who’s” = “who is.”  For example, “Who’s in charge here?”

“Whose” is the possessive form of “who.”  For example, “Whose shoes are these?”

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