9 Grammatical Mistakes That Instantly Reveal People's Ignorance

All it takes is a single tweet or text for some people to reveal their poor grasp of the English language.

Homophones — words that sound alike but are spelled differently — can be particularly pesky.

Regardless, you should never choose incorrectly in these nine situations:

1. “Your” vs. “You’re”

“Your” is a possessive pronoun, while “you’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

Example 1: You’re pretty.

Example 2: Give me some of your whiskey.

2. “It’s vs. “Its”

Normally, an apostrophe symbolizes possession. As in, “I took the dog’s bone.” But because apostrophes also replace omitted letters — as in “don’t” — the “it’s” vs. “its” decision gets complicated.

Use “its” as the possessive pronoun and “it’s” for the shortened version of “it is.”

Example 1: The dog chewed on its bone.

Example 2: It’s raining.

3. “Then” vs. “Than”

“Then” conveys time, while “than” is used for comparison.

Example 1: We left the party and then went home.

Example 2: We would rather go home than stay at the party.

4. “There,” vs. “They’re,” vs. “Their”

“There” is a location. “Their” is a possessive pronoun. And “they’re” is a contraction of “they are.”

Use them wisely.

5. “We’re” vs. “Were”

“We’re” is a contraction of “we are,” and “were” is the past tense of “are.”

6. “Affect” v. “Effect”

“Affect” is a verb and “effect” is a noun.

There are, however, rare exceptions. For example, someone can “effect change” and “affect” can be a psychological symptom.

Example: How did that affect you?

Example: What effect did that have on you?

7. “Two” v. “Too” v. “To”

“Two” is a number.

“To” is a preposition. It’s used to express motion, although often not literally, toward a person, place, or thing.

And “too” is a synonym for “also.”

8. “Into” v. “In to”

“Into” is a preposition that indicates movement or transformation, while “in to,” as two, separate words, won’t.

Example: We drove the car into the lake.

Example: I turned my test in to the teacher.

In the latter example, if you wrote “into,” you’re implying you literally changed your test into your teacher.

9. “Alot”

“Alot” isn’t a word. This phrase is always two, separate words: a lot.

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