Three basic English words even native speakers often get wrong.

There are some words in English that look and sound remarkably alike, so much so that even native speakers often get them wrong. These fundamental words are used in nearly every conversation so they are well worth reviewing and mastering. 

1. your / you’re 
“Your” and “you’re” sound exactly the same, but the meanings are very different. 

your = you have or own something
A: Is this your dog? 
B: No. He’s not mine. I thought he was yours

you’re = you + are
Ex: You’re busy today, right? 
Ex: I hope you’re ready for the test.

2. its / it’s  
its = it has or owns something
Ex: Is that your dog? Its collar is loose. 
Ex: I found your phone, but its glass is cracked. 

it’s = it + is
Ex: It’s really late. I’m tired.
Ex: I think it’s time to go to bed. 

it’s = it + has
Ex: It’s been great seeing you again.
Ex: The dog is outside. It’s been playing for hours.

3. there / their / they’re
there = a place / used to show existence 
Ex: My jacket is over there, on the table. 
Ex: There is a spider on your shoulder!

their = they have or own something 
Ex: My neighbors have three kids. Their baby cries a lot. 
Ex: Nintendo is really great. I love their games. 

they’re = they + are
Ex: The Indiana Jones movies are great. They’re so exciting. 
Ex: My friends and I are going out tonight. They’re waiting for me.

So, why do people make mistakes with words like “it’s,” “you’re,” and “they’re”?
The main reason is the possessive apostrophe. Apostrophe s shows a contraction of two words like “it” and “is,” or “it” and “has.” 
Ex: It‘s really nice out today. (it + is) 
Ex: It‘s been a long time. (it + has) 

Apostrophe s also shows ownership. 
Ex: This is Steven‘s sister Bertha. 
Ex: The company‘s new advertisements are really funny.

However, “your,” “their,” and “its” all show possession without using apostrophes. Other words such as, “my,” “his,” “her” and “our” work the same way.

Now it’s your turn! Can you pass the quiz below? 
1. What’s _____ name? 
a. your     b. you’re 

2. Hurry. Get _____ hat. 
a. your     b. you’re 

3. _____ the best!
a. your     b. you’re 

4. I think _____ doing a great job! 
a. your     b. you’re 

5. This is _____ moment! 
a. your     b. you’re 

6.  _____ not going to believe this. I won the lottery! 
a. your     b. you’re 

7. The dog is hungry. _____ bowl is empty. 
a. its     b. it’s 

8. The dog is barking, because _____ hungry. 
a. its     b. it’s 

9. _____ almost time to go home. TGIF! 
a. its     b. it’s 

10. Your computer’s fan is on. I think _____ too hot.
a. its     b. it’s 

11. _____ are five customers waiting in the lobby. 
a. there     b. their     c. they’re

12. Everyone is waiting over _____, near the door. 
a. there     b. their     c. they’re

13. Be careful. _____ all very angry. 
a. there     b. their     c. they’re

14. They are angry because _____ bus is late. 
a. there     b. their     c. they’re

15. Keep going. _____ almost finished. 
a. your     b. you’re 

16. Well, _____ you have it. You made it to the end. 
a. there     b. their     c. they’re

1. your     2. your     3. you’re     4. you’re     5. your     6. you’re     7. its     8. it’s     9. it’s     10. its     11. there     12. there     13. they’re     14. their     15. you’re     16. there

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