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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Criminal Sentence 255: There, their, they're

From a sign at my gym's child care area:

"All parents must make sure there kids are taking the right shoes."

"Their is" a problem with that "there," which is one of three words that sound alike:

1) "their," as in not "mine" or "yours"
2) "there," as in not "here"
3) "they're," a contraction of "they are"

Careless writers forget which one is which. If you tend to make this mistake, I suggest that when you use one of these words, you say to yourself, "Ding! I've just used a word that sounds like another word. Maybe I should double-check myself!"

Thank "ewe" "four" double-checking "yore" self. English contains many pairs and trios of similar-sounding words, so "bee" careful with your spelling!


abigaildavid said...

I wonder if you have ever found a polite way to make a store/business owner aware of an error in their sign? ;) I continue to enjoy your blog and am learning much from it. Thank-you!

The Sentence Sleuth said...

I have written about a couple of encounters in stores, but I haven't found the perfect way to get my message across politely. Any suggestions?