Help for Correct English Usage
Some of the trickiest words in the English language are short, seemingly simple combinations of letters which sound the same as others that have DIFFERENT meanings. These commonly confused words are called homophones (“same sounds”). Let’s learn how to swat down the most frequently mixed-up ones so that your writing can sparkle with perfection!
“Your” vs. “You’re”
“Your” means “belonging to you,” while “you’re” is a contraction of “you” and “are” in order to mean: “You are.” Here’s an example sentence showing how to use both words correctly: Your octopus has escaped, and you’re going to spend the next three hours looking for it!
“It’s” vs. “Its”
“It’s” means “it is” (it’s a contraction of those two words), and “its” means, “Belonging to it.” This is are commonly confused words, because usually “belonging” words have an apostrophe before the “s” — but not “its!”
Here’s an example of a sentence using them both correctly: It’s the middle of the night, and I know the monster has come to eat my veggies, because I hear its hairy paw prying open the refrigerator door.
“Their” vs. “They’re” vs. “There”
“Their” means “belonging to them.” “They’re” means “they are” (in contraction form). “There” refers to location, as in where something is. Here’s an example sentence using them all correctly: Their drawings were on the shelf over there, but now they’re gone because a purple whale jumped out of the ocean and gobbled them up — not even saying sorry!”
Commonly Confused Words Worksheet
How to TEACH Commonly Confused Words
Want a printable (or electronic) four-page interactive lesson on the most commonly confused words? Click to see this grammar and editing worksheet from my online store, which gets high reviews! I hope you find it as useful and enjoyable as my students do.
(Honestly — formal pupils come back years later and say they remember these grammar and usage lessons fondly! It warms the heart of this teacher.) Now let’s see some more commonly confused words in cartoon lesson form…
More English Language Arts Lessons:
Curious to see other educational cartoons from this friendly middle school ELA teacher and artist, Lillie Marshall? (Don’t be frightened by the fact that I teach 7th grade — these articles are good for all ages.) Check them out here:
- Onomatopoeia Examples
- Metacognition Definition and Strategies
- What is Context?
- Juxtaposition Examples
- Why is School Important?
- 8 Benefits of Drawing
- Liminal Space
- Traveling or Travelling?
- Why is Art Important?
- Foreshadowing Definition and Examples
Other Commonly Confused Words
There are oh-so-many other frequently mixed up words in the English language, and I would love your help picking the next commonly confused words for me to teach through cartoon lessons! Do use the comment section below to make your request…