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Struggling with apostrophes? Confused about spelling words that sound the same when spoken? Here are some common mistakes to watch out for.
Your / You're - You're about to drop your wallet.
There / Their / They're - Look over there! They're hurting their dog.
Were / Where / We're - Where were you last night? We're coming home now.
Should have / Should've - NEVER USE Should of
Its / It's - It's running well with its new tyres.
C and S for noun and verb e.g. licence and license
Use C for a noun and S for a verb. An easy way to remember this is to think about advice and advise.
Effect / Affect
Effect will be a noun 98% of the time. Affect will be a verb 99.9% of the time.
It will affect short-term weather patterns but the long-term effect is uncertain.
The rare verb effect means to bring about e.g. to effect the passage of legislation. The rare noun affect means affectation.
Then / Than - This is better than I thought. Get it done now and then you can relax.
No apostrophes in normal abbreviations: DVDs, TVs
Apostrophes for possession:
The company's clients (one company)
The companies' clients (many companies)
No apostrophe if using the noun as an adjective:
Boys school (it is a school for boys and doesn't necessarily belong to the boys)
Apostrophes are OK if they help to prevent confusion:
There are two i's in citizen.
There are two is in citizen.