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5 common grammar errors in the English language to avoid

1. They're vs. Their vs. There:

There is a simple difference between these three. The first “they’re” is a traction of “they are”, the second “their” describes something belonging to or associated with a group; and the third “there” refers to a place. Now you can see how they are distinctively different. So when you use them in sentences, be sure to read the whole sentence to be sure that you’re using them in the right context. You can also double-check by control + F on PC or command + F on Mac.

 

2. Your vs. You're:

This one is pretty straightforward. The simple difference between these two is Your is a possessive pronoun describing someone’s ownership of something, while You’re is a pronoun used to describe something about someone. For example,

You’re a fast learner

or

 How is your day?

 

3. Its vs. It's:

This is one of the trickiest one and is still a challenge for native English  speakers. Like “they’re” above, “it’s” is a contraction of “it is” and “its” is a possessive pronoun describing something associated with a thing previously mentioned. For example, "Put the watch back in its case". The item or thing previously mentioned in the watch. Remember that you can always double-check your sentences by using control + F on PC or command + F on Mac.

 

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4. Who vs. Whom vs. Whose vs. Who's:

Okay, don’t get scared. I’ll break this down for you in the simplest terms. Let’s start with the first:

Who” functions as a subject and an active pronoun in a sentence. E.g. Who bought the book? - in this sentence, the person actively buying the book is “Who”.

Whom” unlike “Who”, functions as an objective pronoun in a sentence. E.g Whom did you speak with? - unlike the example above, the person doing the speaking is not “Whom

Whose” is another possessive pronoun used to determine something belonging to which person E.g. “Whose laptop is this?

Who’s” is a contraction of "who is or who has". E.g "Who's there?"

 

5. "Nor" vs. "Or"

"Nor" is an adverb or a conjunction used before the second or further of two or more alternatives, when the first is being introduced by the negative "Neither". E.g They were neither fun nor entertaining. This adverb can also be used to introduce a further negative statement. For example, "I don't like it" "Nor do I".  


You can learn more about other common English grammar errors on Alison . Know more grammar mistakes made in the English language or have questions? Share them with us in the comments below or including us in your Facebook or LinkedIn discussions, or tweet us @alisoncourses.



 

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