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It’s vs. Its, You’re vs. Your

Posted by Maria Murnane | April 15, 2014

A couple posts back, I clarified the difference between “there,” “they’re” and “their.” Today, I’d like to address two additional common mix-ups:

A little apostrophe makes a big difference!

1.  It’s vs. Its

It’s means IT IS:

  • My parents told me it’s time to go home now.
  • From the look of those dark clouds, I think it’s about to start raining.
  • It’s time to stop thinking about writing a book and just do it!

Its means BELONGING TO IT:

  • The company is considering changing its name.
  • The book had its best week yet in sales.
  • I think the cover of her novel is a perfect fit for its title.

2.  You’re vs.  Your

You’re means YOU ARE:

  • Have I told you I think you’re beautiful?
  • When someone says “thank you,” the polite response is “you’re welcome.”
  • Please let me know when you’re ready to leave.

Your means BELONGING TO YOU:

  • This is your book.
  • It’s your life, so you can do what you want with it.
  • I value your opinion more than you know.

If you want people to take you seriously as a writer, you need to write well. As I said in my other post, unfortunately I regularly see authors make these simple grammatical errors not only in their books, but also in the marketing materials used to promote them (e.g. book descriptions, Facebook pages, author bios, etc.). You may be a wonderful storyteller, but if your writing is riddled with mistakes, the errors are what readers will notice first. If you have a publishing contract, you’ll be assigned a copyeditor, but if you go the indie route, it’s on you to catch any mistakes. Whoever is footing the bill, it’s a good idea to have a professional proofread your book before putting it on the market. You’ll be glad you did.

-Maria

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 201 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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