With the advent of social media it has become all too apparent that many people are unaware of the correct use of apostrophes and they also do not differentiate words that sound the same. English has a lot of these, but they do have different meanings so it should, in theory, be easy to choose the right one. Yet here are some of the most commonly misused words:
|its||belonging to it|
|their||belonging to them|
|there||at that place (e.g. over there), OR existing (e.g. there are)|
|your||belonging to you|
|to||toward, OR various functional uses (e.g. to be)|
It is easy to see how the confusion arises: your and you’re do sound exactly the same, it is quicker to type your for all occurrences and besides, everyone will hear it correctly in their heads.
Linguistics expert David Crystal (1941-) in ‘The Fight for English’ (2006) explains the problem with children learning the difference between it’s and its thus: if an apostrophe shows belonging, as in the cat’s paw, then it follows that the paw of it should be it’s paw. The logic is admirable!
(Image: pikrepo.com / Public domain)