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Commonly Confused Words

Last updated 4 years ago

Homophones are words that sound alike but have different spellings and meanings. Spell checking your documents won't flag homophones because you did spell the word correctly - it was just not the word you intended to use.

Does it really matter if you write, The cheese was cheep or The cheese was cheap? Yes, using the right word does matter!

Here are four of the most common homophone hazards:

1. there, their, they're
There tells us a location: Put the books over there.
Their indicates that a thing belongs to someone: You can wash their car tomorrow.
They're is a contraction of they and are: Ask if they're (they are) going to the ballgame.

2. you're, your
You're is a contraction of you are: Find out if you're going to win the Lottery.
Your indicates that a thing belongs to you:  He read your message and laughed.

3. its, it's
It's means it is or it has: It's time for you to get dressed.
Its indicates that something belongs to a thing (or animal): The tree lost its leaves.

4. to, too, two
To indicates a direction, or it is part of a verb: Go to the beach if you like to swim.
Too shows an excessive amount or an addition: That dog barks too much, and he has fleas too!
Two is the number: I will have two tacos with no sour cream.

Test your skill with these homophones:
- (there, their, they're) Fran said, “Did you remember to bring the drinks?” Bob answered, “________________ in the cooler, but our friends should bring __________ own.”

- (your, you're) Don't forget that _____________ in charge of the cookies!

- (its, it's) Did he say _______ been two years since the groundhog saw ______ shadow?

- (to, too, two) When the visiting team hit _______ many home runs, the coach told the pitcher ______ settle down.

The Literacy & Language Center teaches children the reading and writing skills they need to excel in school and in all areas of life. We can also help your child overcome dyslexia and other learning difficulties. For more information about our reading and writing programs, call us today at (415) 242-1205.

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