Misused Words: Are vs Our

Are and our are tricky homophones; however, there is a simple solution. The best way to tell them apart is to remember that they are two different parts of speech.

are vs our

Are is the verb *to be* in plural form.

For example: They are buying lots of books.

For example: Are you going to purchase any books?


Our is a pronoun that indicates possession.

For example: Our dog ran to our neighbor’s house.

For example: Where is our dog?


Here is an example of the two words in the same sentence:

Are you going to take our car to the book signing?

Yes, it is really that simple. 🙂 For your convenience, here is a downloadable pdf of this post to keep handy in case you need a refresher. (No opt-in required.)


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Misused Words: Its and It’s

Its and It’s are words that get confused all the time, so here is a short explanation between the two:

Misused Words: Its and It's

Its (without the apostrophe) is a neuter (non-gender) possessive pronoun that works similar to his or her. (a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a  noun.)

For example: The dog likes its purple toy.

For example: The committee is writing its response to the board of directors.


It’s (with the apostophe) is a contraction for it is or it has.

For example: It’s been a week since Karen wrote in her journal. (In this case, the it’s is a contraction for it has.)

For example: It’s time to send the draft to the publisher. (In this case, the it’s is a contraction for it is.)


HINT: If you can’t decide whether to use it’s or its, substitute the word with “it is” or “it has.” If the substitution works, than you know to use it’s. If the substitution doesn’t work then you know to use its.


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