It's all too easy to confuse words that have the same sound but different meanings. Watch out for these homophones when your you're writing.

  • You're is short for you are but your means belonging to you
  • They're is short for they are but their means belonging to them
  • We're means we are but were is the past tense of be
  • If you mean 'more than is required' or 'in addition', then it's too not to
  • Whose refers to things that belong to people and who's means 'who is'
  • Its means 'belonging to it', whereas it's means 'it is' (or, informally, it has).

Chambers dictionary notes that confusion between its and it's is the most common mistake in the English language. And no matter how good your grasp of grammar, it's very easy for the wrong its to slip into a sentence. I know it happens to me.

So, beware of homophones.

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