5 Common English Mistakes that Make You Look Less Smart

English is a complicated language with a lot of rules to follow. There are some mistakes even native English speakers regularly make, and these mistakes can set you back when you're trying to make an impression at work.

Here are some of the most common English grammar and spelling mistakes you should be sure to avoid:

1. Its vs. It's

Its is a possessive word, used to indicate that an object belongs to someone or something. "Don't judge a book by its cover."


It's is a contraction, with the presence of the apostrophe signaling that letters have been left out. Use it's only when it can be replaced with it is or it has. "Have you read that? It's a good book."


2. Less vs. Fewer

Less is used when referring to something that can't be counted. In general, think of less as referring to an amount. "Less than half the people in the crowd were wearing raincoats."


Fewer is used when referring to something that can be counted, or to a specific number of an item. "I saw fewer than 10 umbrellas."


3. Then vs. Than

Then refers to time, while than is a comparative word.

"I will meet you then."

"She arrived earlier than he did."


4. Your vs. You're

Your is a possessive word, used to show that something belongs to "you". "Is this your notebook?"


You're is a contraction, the apostrophe indicating that there are letters missing. "You're glad I found that notebook!"


5. They're vs. Their vs. There

They're is a contraction, used to replace they are. "They're going to the park today."


Their is possessive: "Did they bring their lunch to the park?"


There is used to indicate a place or location. "Will you put the picnic basket over there?"


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