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Confusing Contractions


A contraction is a shortened version of a word created by the omission of a sound. In writing, the omission of a sound (which is usually a vowel) is marked with an apostrophe.

It is important to note that while contractions are acceptable in conversation and informal writing, it is better to avoid them in formal writing. You can read more about contractions here.

Today we’re going to look at three different contractions all of which are often confused with possessive pronouns.

Confusing Words
When should I use which word?
It’s vs. Its
  • It’s is short for ‘it is’ or (in informal speech) ‘it has’.

    Here is it’s used in some example sentences:
    • It’s going to rain later.
    • Have you seen their new house? It’s got seven bedrooms.

  • The word its is a possessive pronoun like ‘his’ or ‘her’. It means ‘belonging to it’. Apostrophes should never be used with possessive pronouns.

    Here is its used in some example sentences:
    • The dog chased after its ball.
    • Be careful on that chair – its legs are wobbly.

Click here for Spellzone word lists featuring the word its.

They’re vs. There
vs. Their
  • They’re is short for ‘they are’.

    Here is they’re used in some example sentences: -
    • Do you know if they’re coming to the party?
    • They’re going to be very shocked when they find out the truth.

  • There is an adverb used to refer to a place or the existence of something.

    Here is there used in some example sentences:
    • I’ve read all about Italy – I would love to go there one day.
    • There will be a very important lecture next week – make sure you don’t miss it.

  • The word their is a possessive pronoun like ‘his’ or ‘her’. It means ‘belonging to them’. Apostrophes should never be used with possessive pronouns.

    Here is their used in some example sentences:
    • Their dog is very well behaved.
    • Will the party be at their house or are they hiring a hall?
You’re vs. Your
  • You’re is short for ‘you are’.

    Here is you’re used in some example sentences:
    • Is it true you’re moving away?
    • You’re my best friend.

  • The word your is a possessive pronoun like ‘his’ or ‘her’. It means ‘belonging to you’. Apostrophes should never be used with possessive pronouns.

    Here is your used in some example sentences:
    • I met your sister the other day.
    • Your speech was really funny.

Where can I find other posts about easy-to-confuse words?

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23 Nov 2015
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