Imagine my embarrassment. . .

Correct use of contractionsThere was a time when I sent out an e-mail message and “got busted.” Perhaps, you received it back then.

It read: “Are you ready to charge what your worth this year?”

Notice the error yet? Well, obviously, I didn’t catch it before I pushed the “send” key. Off it went into cyberspace – typo and all.

Imagine my embarrassment when I received an opt-out request and the reason the reader provided was “Use of ‘your’ when it should have been ‘you’re’ in an e-mail subject line.”

She was right. I had missed a classic error often made by others and my face turned red when I read her message. However, I’m grateful because it also prompted this blog about contractions and how they’re commonly misused.

Here are three to keep in mind next time you’re writing your next blog, e-mail, or any other form of written communication:

1. YOUR vs. YOU’RE:
“Your” means “of or relating to you or yourself.” For instance, “What is your time worth?”

“You’re” is plain and simple – it means “you are.” In other words, “Are you ready to charge what you’re worth this year?”

2. ITS vs. IT’S:

“Its” is used to indicate possession or the recipient of an action such as “The dog was wagging its tail.”

”It’s” means “it is” or “it has.” So, “It’s time to take the dog for a walk.”


“There” means “in or at that place,” “to, into or toward that place,” or “that place or point,” For instance, “Let’s sit over there,” “I flew over there on an airplane,” or “When they saw the flames, they got out of there fast.”

“Their” is used to indicate possession. “They were upset to learn that the airline lost their luggage.”

“They’re” means “they are.” So, “They’re going to leave for the airport shortly to catch their plane.”

Did you ever send out a message only to discover a typo after you sent it out? Were you embarrassed?

Source: Webster’s II New Riverside Dictionary, Berkley Books, New York.