Entries Tagged as 'Commonly Confused Words'

Your vs. You’re

It never hurts to review this topic:

your = possessive adjective

you’re = you are

Use your before a noun when the noun belongs to the person you are speaking to (possessive).  For example:  Did you bring your coat? Are all of your documents in this file? Did you call your mother?

Use you’re when you mean “you are”.  For example: You’re not leaving without a hug.  Did you say you’re riding with us?

Test yourself!  Are the following correct or incorrect?

  1. Your having dinner at our house.
  2. Your baby is so cute.
  3. You’re pregnant.
  4. Your the father!

Answers

  1. incorrect
  2. incorrect
  3. correct
  4. incorrect

Less and Fewer – Quantity Activity

Another activity is available from the AllEnglish collection for you to use in practice or in your classrooms.

Less or Fewer

Here’s a hint:  less is used with non-count nouns; fewer is used with count nouns.  They both mean a lower quantity.

This is free to use.  Just remember to credit AllEnglish as the reference.

What’s the difference between warning and caution?

A warning refers to something dangerous and serious – something you should avoid.

  • Warning:  Beware of Dog = don’t enter this gate because there is a dog behind it that will hurt you.

A caution is a suggestion to take extra care.

  • Caution: This floor is slippery. = be extra careful when walking near this area because you might slip.

If used in casual speech between friends, these words are sometimes used as synonyms.

Take this advice as a word of caution: this man will break your heart.

6 weeks later:

I told you he would hurt you.  You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Child’s Play and Spatial Vocabulary Development

This Science Daily article refers to research about how playing with blocks increases spatial development.  Interaction during this play time also increases spatial vocabulary.

The researchers found that when playing with blocks under interactive conditions, children hear the kind of language that helps them think about space, such as “over,” “around” and “through.”

So, is there an age limit to playing with children’s toys in the classroom to learn these prepositions?  Some classes are academic leaning and don’t allow for much play.  However, other groups might be willing to play around, especially if it helps them master prepositions reflecting spatial concepts that are often difficult to explain with words and pictures only.

Lose vs. Loose

Lose and loose are commonly misspelled.  There are often mispronounced, too, so maybe this will help:

The ‘s’ in lose (a verb) is pronounced with a /z/ sound.  Lose means that you have misplaced something.  Example: Where did you lose your keys?  If I knew where I lost them, I would still have them!

The ‘s’ in loose (an adjective) is pronounced with a /s/ sound.  Loose means the opposite of tight.  Example:  I have to tie my shoe because my shoestrings are loose.