Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Little Grammar Lesson Never Hurt Nobody (Ironic?)


No matter if you’re writing professional web content or a Facebook status update to your friends, knowing the grammar basics is essential. Since I love learning about grammar (nerd alert), I ‘follow’ quite a few editors, proofreaders, style guides, and grammar experts on Twitter. This is a great way to learn everything from basic grammar tips to more complex grammar issues on an ongoing basis. But if you’re ready for a quick review of the most common grammar errors right now, check out my tips below!


You’re is the contraction of ‘you are.' For example, “Shannon, you’re the best blogger in the world” and “Hey, Shannon, you’re doing an amazing job on that witty and highly informative blog – keep up the good work!”

Your is the possessive form of you. For example, “Is that your dog that just crapped on my lawn again?” and “You better start cleaning up after your dog or I will be forced to rub your face in his poo.”

If you’re still unsure whether you need to use you’re or your, a good way to test it is to insert 'you are' (you're) into the sentence.

For example, would 'you are' work in this sentence? “Is that you are dog that just crapped on my lawn again?” Since it clearly doesn’t make any sense, you know you need to go with 'your.' You can use this trick anytime you are unsure which you need to use.

They’re/Their/ There

They might sound the same, but these three words all have very different meanings.

They’re is the contraction of ‘they are.’ For example, “I’m only going to their wedding if they’re having an open bar” and “Don’t worry, cheapskate, they’re having an open bar with lots of vodka – your favorite.”

Their is used to describe belonging. For example, “Their wedding was a smashing good time. No, really, I got super smashed” and “I’m glad you had fun, but you probably shouldn’t have helped yourself to some of their wedding gifts.”

There is used to a refer to a place, whether physical or abstract, but it can also be used to introduce a sentence. For example, “There is nothing wrong with a little bump and grind” and “Look at that couple bumping and grinding over there.”


It’s is the contraction of ‘it is’ and ‘it has.’ For example, “It’s going to kill me if there are no hot guys at the bar tonight” and “I can't believe it's taking this long for all the cute guys to show up."

Its is a pronoun that shows possession. For example “This glass isn’t going to refill itself on its own” and “This blog will never lose its appeal.”

Remember the trick from above… insert 'it is' (it's) in the sentence if you're unsure which to use.

For example, “This glass isn’t going to refill itself on it is own.” Immediately you can tell that the correct choice to go with is ‘its.’

I hope this helped! Another great source for easy-to-remember grammar tips is Grammar Girl’s website. Check it out and see what you think!

And if you're interested in increasing your visibility amongst search engines, Voice of North America can help. Voice of North America lets you post blogs about any topic you want, getting you quality link backs from relevant content.


  1. I find that people often misuse then and than when writing.

  2. I agree ... I see that a lot. Maybe a topic for another post!

  3. I absolutely hate it when people don't know the difference between "your shit" and "you're shit"! :-P
    Come on, it's not even that difficult. The grammar there is quite transparent. I may sound like a grammar Nazi but that's the way I feel about the issue.