Learn the difference between “their” and “there,” “its” and “it’s,” “effect” and “affect.”

Remember how we said that you’d be ahead of 90% of applicants if you just turned in an error-free paper? Well, if you learn these three, you can probably bump it up to 95%. These three distinctions are a) very basic and easy to learn, and b) seemingly screwed up by almost everyone, almost all the time. Lucky for you, I’ve come through for you with a mini-guide to these phrases, and if you use this guide you’ll never screw them up again:

there is the place across from here. If you can’t point in the direction of “there,” then what you really mean is this word…

their, which describes something that belongs to them.

It’s is a short way of saying “it is”. If you aren’t trying to say “it is,” then what you really mean is this word…

its, which refers to anything that belongs to it.

And 99% of the time, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. “Her speeches really affect me,” but “her words really had an effect on me.”

4 thoughts on “Learn the difference between “their” and “there,” “its” and “it’s,” “effect” and “affect.””

  1. You might also want to beware of “your” and “you’re”. They have to very different meanings and confusing them makes you appear to have horrific grammar.

  2. I agree completely, Kat. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been disappointed by friends that I thought were fairly intelligent people. I’ll talk to them online and then out of nowhere comes a horribly butchered sentence.

    “Your going to college? Make sure you fill out you’re FAFSA!”

  3. Also too and to (believe it or not), Brittish and American spellings creeping into assignments (I’m Canadian and am sure this happens in other enlish speaking countries as well) are all issues. Josh how about a few more pointers? A link to simple cheat sheets? I’d also appreciate a few words on using numbers in writing and the rules around this, when should words and/or symbols be used? Also do not trust your spell checker!

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