CMN 279 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Homophone, Semicolon
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CMN 279: Lec 2 Grammar & Direct Messages Feb. 02 / 2018
Its’ or ‘it’s’?
● The word it’s is always short for ‘it is’ (as in it's raining), or in informal speech, for
‘it has’ (as in it's got six legs).
● The word its means ‘belonging to it’ (as in hold its head still while I jump on its
back). It is a possessive pronoun like his.
How do you use their, there, and they’re?
● Their is the possessive case of the pronoun they, as in “They left their cell
phones at home.” Their is generally plural, but it is increasingly accepted in place
of the singular his or her after an with words such as someone: “Someone left
their book on the table.”
● There is an adverb that means “in or at that place,” as in “She is there now.” In
this sense, there is essentially the opposite of here. There is also used as a
pronoun introducing a sentence or clause, as in “There is still hope.”
● They’re is a contraction of the words they and are, as in “They’re mastering the
differences between three homophones!”
● Take a hint from the spelling!
● If you find yourself coming up blank when trying to determine which one to use,
take a hint from the spelling of each:
● Their has the word heir in it, which can act as a reminder that the term indicates
● There has the word here in it. There is the choice when talking about places,
whether figurative or literal.
● They’re has an apostrophe, which means it’s the product of two words: they are.
If you can substitute they are into your sentence and retain the meaning, then
they’re is the correct homophone to use.
Colons and Semi-colons
● Colon - used to introduce a definition, statement or explanation of something
● Semi-colon - joins together two clauses that could each be separate sentences
— creating a longer sentence
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