Easy Way to Improve Your Grammar

Question: should the title of this blog post be “Easy Way to Improve You’re Grammar”? Do you have a good handle on the difference between “your” and “you’re”? Many people do not!

Here’s another one. Which of the following is grammatically correct?

  1. The company will take its business elsewhere.
  2. The company will take it’s business elsewhere.
  3. Both #1 and #2 are correct.
  4. Both #1 and #2 are incorrect.

The only right answer is #1. This is another challenge many people have. Even those who are otherwise quite intelligent mix up “its” with “it’s” — and end up looking idiotic in print, or on the web.

There is one trick that can help. The trick depends on the fact that “it’s” is a contraction meaning “it is” and “they’re” likewise means “they are”, “you’re” means “you are”, and so on.

Go into the AutoCorrect Options of Microsoft Word, and click on the AutoCorrect tab:

AutoCorrect

Enter in all the contractions one by one. For instance, replace “it’s” with “it is” automatically as you type:

its

Enter all the ones that you aren’t sure about, or have made mistakes on in the past. Then, click on OK.

That’s pretty much it. Next time you type “it’s”, Word will automatically expand it to “it is” — as you can see in the example below:

You type:

  • it’s a beautiful day today

You get:

  • it is a beautiful day today

In this case, your grammar is 100% on point, so the AutoCorrect kicks in but does not change your meaning.

On the other hand, suppose your grammar isn’t so great and you make the following mistake:

  • the robot raised it’s arms

As before, AutoCorrect kicks in and now you have:

  • the robot raised it is arms

Even if you are fuzzy on the difference between “it’s” and “its”, you can tell this is wrong. That’s your cue to backspace over “it is” and change it to “its”. This makes it right, so AutoCorrect will not be triggered to change your text. This is an easy way to have your computer catch your error, and remind you that you still have this particular weakness in your writing.