I know, I know, you already know this stuff, but sometimes it’s important to review. Besides, sometimes we homeschoolers appreciate having our own version of things.
Or if you never need to review, just think of it as a handy reference guide for the rest of us.
1. YOUR vs. YOU’RE
YOU’RE is a contraction, while YOUR is the second-person possessive.
YOU’RE means “you are.” YOUR refers to something that belongs to you.
Your Not-Back-to-School party was awesome! I hope you’re planning to throw one again next year.
2. IT’S vs. ITS
IT’S is a contraction, while ITS is possessive.
IT’S means “it is.”
ITS refers to something that belongs to “it.” (“Its feet are hairy. Its eye is bulging. Its smell is unmistakable.”) Usually possessives do have an apostrophe, but in this case, there isn’t one. English is weird like that.
What is that? It’s a worksheet.
What is the purpose of the worksheet’s blank lines? Its blanks are for filling in.
Why are we talking like this? Stilted dialog is a feature of worksheets.
3. THERE, THEY’RE, THEIR
THERE can serve a lot of grammatical functions but it usually refers to a place.
THEY’RE means “they are.”
And THEIR is the possessive of the third-person plural—so if something belongs to “them,” it is “theirs.”
Their homeschool meets there, in their house.
And there, in their car.
And there at the park, and there at the zoo, and there at the coffee shop, and on a really good day, over there, at the beach.
They’re starting to wonder if “home” school is really the best name for this lifestyle.
4. AFFECT vs. EFFECT
AFFECT is (usually, like 99% of the time) a verb, while EFFECT is (usually!) a noun.
This one’s tricky. If you can put “the” in front of it, you probably want EFFECT. If something is “being affected,” you likely mean AFFECT.
One effect of our reading obsession is that we get to discuss, over and over again, the scene in The Odyssey where the Cyclops smashes the sailors’ brains against a rock.
Another effect involves overdue charges at the library.
You know you have a problem when your library fines start to adversely affect your grocery budget.
5. LESS vs. FEWER
LESS usually describes an amount that can’t be counted, while FEWER usually describes an amount that can be counted.
We spend less time lining up for things, because we have fewer students than other schools.
That homeschooling mom spends less time quizzing people for the National Spelling Bee than stereotypes suggest. She also owns fewer denim jumpers than you might guess.
We spend fewer days in our pajamas, now that the weather is so warm.
We are less worried about socialization than you seem to be, but thanks for checking!
I bet you’ll never mistake THOSE again.
Happy September! Have a great year, whatever your educational lifestyle.
What did I forget? Tweet me your suggestions!