Homophones – words that sound alike – can be confusing to the ear. And to the eye. You read with your eyes, but you may also sound out the words in your head. If two words sound alike, how do you know which one is right?
When in doubt, check it out. In your dictionary.
There is an adverb. It’s often used to indicate location or a point in time.
a. Location – “The ball is over there.”
b. A point in time – “Stop right there before you say something you’ll regret.”
Their is an adjective that relates to a noun and is used to identify possession.
a. Their (people) furniture doesn’t look good in this room.
b. The oak trees shed all their leaves.
They’re is a contraction of the words They (pronoun) and Are (verb).
a. They’re going to Manhattan by train.
b. I hope they’re going to get dinner after the movie.
Use “they’re” if you can substitute “they are” in the sentence.
When you’re in the flow of writing, your brain can forget which word to use. Just the other day I typed “there” instead of “they’re” and everything looked fine. Then I read back what I’d written and noticed my mistake.
Looking for those red squiggles in your Word document is a great way to find misspellings. But don’t rely on your Spell Check program to catch homophone mistakes. It won’t. Read (to yourself or out loud) and correct.
Words of Passion offers proofreading services to ensure your document is clean and ready to go. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.