With the new Homophone Engine as part of our Advanced Grammar feature, powered by GradeProof AI, you will know your S#!T. Homophones are “two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meaning, origins, or spelling” (Oxford Dictionary). For example, “new” and “knew”. Homophone errors are sometimes difficult to pick up through manual proofreading as the sentences sound as the writer intended. Other times, the writer might mishear what the speaker is saying. For example, people often write ‘should of’ when what is meant is ‘should’ve’ (Should have).

Look out for our future articles discussing more specific examples of homophones and how to avoid using the wrong word!

Below are some common mistakes people make daily and their definitions from the Oxford Dictionary:

* Your vs. You're
* There vs. Their vs. They're
* Then vs. Than
* Its vs. It's
* Complement vs. Compliment

Your vs. You're

Your

Possessive determiner

You're

Contraction

1. Belonging to or associated with the person or people that the speaker is addressive

'What is your name?'
'I am your father'

1. You are

'You're a wizard, Nick!'

2. Belonging to or associated with any person in general

'The sight is enough to break your heart'

3. (Your) use when addressing the holder of certain titles

'Your Majesty'

There vs. Their vs. They're

There

Adverb

Their

Possessive determiner

They're

Contraction

1. In, at, or to that place or position

'What is going on over there?'
'I would like it over there, thank you!'

1. Belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified

'Some people are very attached to their cars'

1. They are

'They're lovely!'

2. Used in attracting someone's attention or calling attention to someone or something

'Hey there!'

2. Used in titles

'It is a splendid portrait of Their Majesties'

3. Used to indicate the fact or existence of something

'There is a good pub just around the corner'

Then vs. Than

Then

Adverb

Than

Conjunction & preposition

1. At that time; at the time in question.

'I was a lot skinner then'

1. Introducing the second element in a comparison

[as preposition]'She was much taller than his father'

2. After that; afterwards.

'He won his first games and then the second games'

2. Used in expressions introducing an exception or contrast

[as preposition] 'The defendant claims not to own anything other than his home'

3. In that case; therefore

'If you do what I tell you, then there is nothing to worry about'

Its vs. It's

Its

Possessive determiner

It's

Contraction

1. Belonging to or associated with a thing previously mentioned or easily identified

'Place the phone on its back'
'It is very good for its price'

1. It is

'It's a girl!'
'It's my fault'

Complement vs. Compliment

Complement

Compliment

Noun

1. A thing that contributes extra features to something else in such a way as to improve or emphasize its quality

'The red wine is a perfect complement to the cheese'
Noun

1. A polite expression of praise or admiration.

'She paid me an enormous compliment'

2. A number or quality of something, especially that required to make a group complete

'At the moment we have a full complement of staff'
Verb

1. Contribute extra feature to (someone or something) in such a way as to improve or emphasize their qualities

'A classic blazer complements a look that is smart or casual'
Verb

1. Politely congratulate or praise (someone) for something

'Annabelle complimented Craig on his mustache'

Confused about homophones?

Comment below which homophone pairs you are most confused about and/or make frequent errors!

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