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Common English mistakes


Feb 17, 2019
They're vs. Their vs. There
One's a contraction for "they are" (they're), one refers to something owned by a group (their), and one refers to a place (there).
They're your coworkers.
Their dog ran off yesterday.
She was standing right there.

Your vs. You're
The big difference between the two of those is owning something or being something.
Your being possessive and owning something, examples could be: your name, your car, your house.
You're is a contraction of "you are" and being something, examples could be: you’re beautiful, you’re smart, you’re welcome.

Its vs. it's
Once again we're dealing with something possessive and a contraction.
In this case "its" is possessive and "it's" is a contraction of it is.
This often confuses people because "it's" has an 's after it, which normally means something is possessive, but in this case, it's actually a contraction.

To vs Too
To is commonly used before a noun or verb, in order to describe a destination, recipient, or action. Examples could be:
My friend drove me to my doctor's appointment. (Destination)
I sent the files to my boss. (Recipient)
I'm going to get a cup of coffee. (Action)
Too however, is used as an alternative to "also" or "as well." Examples could be:
My colleague, Mathi Gorbachev, writes for the HubSpot marketing blog, too.
She, too, is vegan.
We both think it's too cold outside.

Who vs. Whom vs. Whose vs. Who's
Who is used to identify a living pronoun.
Who ate all of the cookies?
Whom is usually used to describe someone who's receiving something, like a letter.
Who did we hire to join the podcast team?
Whose is used to assign ownership to someone.
Whose sweater is that?
Who's is used to identify a living being and is a contraction for "who is."
Who's pitching for the Red Sox tonight?

Lose vs. Loose
Lose is a verb that means "to be unable to find (something or someone), to fail to win (a game, contest, etc.)
Loose is an adjective that means "not tightly fastened, attached, or held," like loose clothing or a loose tooth.

Then vs. Than
Then is mainly an adverb used to situate actions in time.
We made dinner, and then we ate it.
Than is a conjunction used primarily to make comparisons.
My dinner was better than yours.

Of vs. Off
Of is used to show that people or things relate to other things or people.
He resigned his position as a member of the school board.
Of can also be used to say that something consists of something else.
She likes to drink a glass of milk before going to bed.
Off is the opposite of on.
The radio was on, but she needed peace and quiet so she turned it off.
Off can also be used when we want to say that something is away from a place.
He was walking his dog without a leash, and the dog ran off.