Your Friendly Grammar Ninja, Lesson 2: Homophones

Addressing Grammar with Humor and Hyperbole One Word Crime at a Time

Your my best friend ever!

Well. Hmm. While Grammar Nazis cringe and break into stuttered and staccatoed (yeah, like a boss, I added an inflection to the word staccato) diatribes in reaction to such a sentence, Grammar Ninjas like myself simply find that calm, quiet place inside of us and PAUSE, REFLECT, and come to the RESCUE!

And after teaching reading and language arts for over a decade to elementary and middle school students, I’ve come across a lot of naughty sentences where words have been afflicted and assaulted with such cruelty, I shudder to think about the escapades. Today, I shall discuss the proper use of homophones: your, you’re, their, they’re, there. Even a little bit of to, two, too. For students visiting, (who may have forgotten the definition) a homophone is a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not, as heir and air.

According to Mr. Webster, (a most reliable source), here are the definitions of each word.

Word Definition Appropriate Example
Your Relating to or belonging to you Your feet are like a hobbit’s —large and hairy.
You’re Contraction of “you are” You’re my best friend ever!
There At or in that place Please sit there.
Their Relating or belonging to them Their shoes are covered in mud.
They’re Contraction of “they are” They’re often afraid of winter coming.
Too As well; also; more than enough Her toenails were long too, like a velociraptor’s – a potential murder weapon.
To In a direction toward I don’t want to go there. Remember the zombies?
Two Being one more than one. Two trees followed him home.

Surrendering to mad flights of fancy, I had decided to become a freelance editor and while I do enjoy reading, I’ve encountered the incorrect and notorious usage of these homophones! I’m in no way perfect and have a lot to learn and master as a writer, but I now fully understand how destructive such errors in a manuscript can be. Dear young writers and beginning writers of any age, please take notice! Wordsmith’s wield words, like a swordsman wields a sword. We have the power to create . . . or destroy. Don’t abuse that power.

Sincerely,

Your Friendly Grammar Ninja

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