Posted by: Jack Henry | July 31, 2012

Editor’s Corner: Common Grammar Mistakes, Part 1

Hello and welcome!

Today I have the first part of an article on the eleven most common grammar mistakes in social media, by Deb Donston-Miller. The reason I am including these isn’t to chastise you for poor spelling habits or shortcuts while texting. I am including these because they are also the most common mistakes I run into while editing documents at work. (To read the entire article click here: To make her explanations clearer, I have added italics below.

I’ve been an editor for a long time, so it’s been my job to correct mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, and syntax, among other things. It’s not my place to correct friends and colleagues on social media, but I would like to offer up a list of the mistakes that I see most. I truly believe that respecting the language earns you respect in return.

1. It’s and Its: I see people mix up its and it’s a lot. People often use it’s to convey possession. That would seem to make sense because an apostrophe usually indicates possession, but it’s is a contraction for it is. Its is a possessive pronoun. So, "It’s time to eat the doughnuts" is correct. "Its fleece was white as snow" is also correct.

2. Your and You’re: This one seems to cause people a lot of problems, too (more on "too" later). Your is a possessive pronoun. You’re is a contraction for you are. "My mother is smarter than your mother" is correct. "You’re the best mother in the world" is also correct.

3. To, Two, and Too: To is a preposition. ("It’s a long way to Tipperary.") Two is a number. ("Two roads diverged in the woods.") Too is a synonym for also. ("I, too, am excited about the start of the Olympics.")

4. There, Their, and They’re: Homonyms certainly seem to give people a lot of trouble, don’t they? There means in or at a place. ("There are miles to go before we sleep.") Their is a plural possessive pronoun. ("They ate their fair share.") They’re is a contraction for they are. ("They’re shipping up to Boston.")

5. Sentence Starters and Endings: Every sentence must start with a capital letter and end with a period, a question mark, or an exclamation point. Period.

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor


8985 Balboa Ave.

San Diego, CA 92123

Phone: 619-542-6773 | Extension: 766773

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