Ten Most Common Errors Made by Writers: #10

And here’s #10 in Larry’s David Letterman Top Ten format: Contractions & Homonymic Convergence. I like big words; don’t you?

Polishing Your Prose

From the Editor’s Eye
The 10 Most Common Errors Made by Writers
(And How to Fix Them)

The first of a ten-part series.

#10. They’re, Their Now: Contractions & Homonymic Convergence

Our ears (and eyes) play dirty tricks on us when it comes to contractions and the words that sound like them. The process can cause us great anxiety as we think back to our eighth-grade English class and try to recall the rules Ms. Bitterlip laid out for us.

I encounter these examples most often:

  • They’re, Their, There, There’re
    • they’re = a contraction of they are:
      They’re going to the concert.
    • their = a pronoun relating to two or more people, especially in the sense of possession, ownership, or belonging to them:
      That is their house.
    • there = a place: He is standing over there.
      or a point in a process: There is where I disagree with…

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