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Homonyms

What?

A lot of words in the English language (and possibly other languages) sound the same but have different spellings and/or different meanings. The problem is that a lot of people never learn these different spellings and meanings and just go about their merry way using the wrong words. When somebody is speaking, you can't tell. However, once you start writing stuff, like web pages or email, you make the big mistake of confusing your readers. People that don't already know what the right homonym is will learn it wrong, from your usage. Those that know the right word will just think you're a moron. So what should you do? Learn it right!


There, Their, and They're

There

There is usually used to describe a physical place or location, or at least a noun. It can also be used in other ways, but I don't know how to best describe it. The following examples should help:

  • Over there is my brain! I left it on the side of the road.
  • There exists a time when every man must learn his homonyms.
  • Do you see now that there is a difference?

Their

Their is used to show possession. Just as 'his' shows possession of an object by 'him', and 'her' shows possession of 'her', their shows possession of an object by a group, they.

  • It's their crap, not yours.
  • Their idea to teach people homonyms was wonderful.

They're

They're is a contraction of the words "they" and "are", as indicated by its apostrophe. You use it to describe a group of objects or whatnot. If your sentence doesn't sound right by replacing they're with they are, then you're using the wrong form of there/their/they're.

  • They're stupid; they don't even know their homonyms.
  • It's good that they're reading this page though.

To, Two, Too

To

To is hard to explain. It's kinda like an implied verb prefix. Read the examples.

  • To be, or not to be, that is the question.
  • I have to go to the bathroom.
  • You want to go to the concert with me?

Two

Two is the spelling of the number 2. Use it when referring to 2 elements of something.

  • There were two ducks in the pond, not three.
  • What do you call a blonde with two brain cells? Pregnant!

Too

Too can mean either 1) also, or 2) an excess of.

  • I have to go to the bathroom too. (case 1)
  • You go to the bathroom too much. (case 2)
  • Hey, I want some beer too! (case 1)
  • You are too young to go in the bar! (case 2)

Are, Our

Are

Are is hard to explain also. Read the examples.

  • Are you going to the concert?
  • There are five ducks swimming around the pond.
  • I bet you are tired after that long drive!

Our

Our shows possession. Use it when you are referring to a group you are in that 'owns' something.

  • Hey, that is our money, don't touch!
  • Our pineapples are the best in town.
  • Would you like to tour our factory?

Your, You're

Your

Your shows possession.

  • Is this your money sitting here?
  • Can I have some of your Coke?

You're

You're is a contraction for "You Are". If you can't replace you're with you are and have your sentence work, then you've messed up.

  • After that run, I bet you're tired as hell.
  • Hey baby, you're pretty hot. (don't try this one in real life)

Its and It's

Its

Its is the possesive form of it.

  • The vase lost its shine over the years.

It's

This is the contraction of the words "It is".

  • It's going to be a nice day today.
  • Come inside... it's raining!

Bonus Section

See if you can identify the correct sentence....

  1. Your pretty nice to help us invest are money like that.
  2. You're pretty nice two help us invest our money like that.
  3. Your pretty nice to help us invest are money like that.
  4. You're pretty nice to help us invest our money like that.
  5. You're pretty nice too help us invest are money like that.
  6. Your pretty nice to help us invest our money like that.