More Confusing Words!



In a previous post, I talked about how it's so easy to get confused with the words theretheir, and they're. And then, after I finished writing that post, I got to thinking about about more confusing words that trip us up all the time! This is an important topic - it is very important to use the right words when you're writing, the exact words. That way, you will be crystal clear in communicating your message to your readers!

So in this post I want to talk about  . . . (drum roll please!):

Its! It's!

Boy, what a confusing pair of words! How often do you see these two words misused in everyday writing?

First, we use its to show ownership, in the same way we use her (her hair), his (his shoes), their (their house), etc.

Examples:
  • The dog is eating its food.
  • The car lost its wheel.
  • The toy isn't working because its batteries are dead.
Got that? Good!

Now let's move on to it's.

It's is sometimes a contraction of it is, as in It's very interesting to travel to new places.
And, sometimes, it's is a contraction of it has - as in, It's been a long time since our last vacation.

Here are some examples:
  • What time is it? It's 3:30pm. (It's = It is)
  • It's snowing. (It's = It is)
  • It's dangerous to text while driving. (It's = It is)
  • It's been a lot of fun getting together with you! (It's = It has)
Reminder: Don't use contractions such as it's and they're in formal writing. Use the separate words instead.

Now, it's time to test yourself! Good luck! When you're done, check the answers below to see how well you did!
  1. (Its / It's) time to give the dog (its / it's) bath.
  2. (Its / It's) so confusing to learn another language!
  3. We've decided to put the piano back in (its / it's) original location in our living room.
  4. I don't think today is a good today to visit the park. (Its / It's) going to rain any minute now.
  5. (Its / It's) been a long time since we last had some wonderful deep-dish pizza in Chicago.





Answers:
  1. It's time to give the dog its bath.
  2. It's so confusing to learn another language!
  3. We've decided to put the piano back in its original location in our living room.
  4. I don't think today is a good today to visit the park. It's going to rain any minute now.
  5. It's been a long time since we last had some wonderful deep-dish pizza in Chicago.

What other words do you get confused with? Please share your comments below.

Matthew Huseby, M.A.
My Language Success LLC

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