Common Mistakes

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There’s/Theirs/Their’s

Theirs is a possessive pronoun. There’s is a contraction for there is or, rarely, there has. Note the apostrophe replacing the missing letter or letters. Their’s does not exist. Examples: That painting is theirs. (possessive pronoun) There’s more to this than meets the eye. (contraction of there is)

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Who/Which/That

That, which, and who when used as relative pronouns each has a distinct function. In modern speech, which refers only to things. Who (or its forms whom and whose) refers only to people. That normally refers to things but it may refer to a class or type of person. Examples: That is a book which

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Commas with Dates

When a date is made up of two or more parts, use a comma to separate the parts when the parts both are words or both are numbers. A second comma follows the last item unless it is at the end of a list or sentence. Incorrect: We will meet Friday July 15. (Word Friday

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To/Too/Two

To is a preposition which begins a prepositional phrase or an infinitive. Too is an adverb meaning “excessively” or “also.” Two is a number. Many other words in English which reflect the number two are spelled with tw: twin, twice, between, tweezers, etc. Examples: We went to a baseball game. (preposition) We like to watch

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Who/Whom

Pronouns are words that Americans often carelessly use in their speech. The problem is that the use of pronouns must be very clear when we write. Many times the writing will be misunderstood; at best, the writer will appear uneducated. A major problem with pronouns is the use of the wrong case. In English certain

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