6. Your vs. You’re
Your means “belonging to you”.
“Here are your Steeler tickets. You owe me your first child.”
You’re means “you are.”
“You’re going to enjoy your Steeler tickets.”
7. Its vs. It’s
Its means: “belonging to it” (a noun that is neither male nor female).
“Winter arrives at its worst in early January.” [Its refers to “winter.”]
It’s means “it is.”
Winter arrives at its worst in a few weeks. It’s a bear of the year.
8. further vs. farther
Further means: more, but in a way that can not be measured precisely.
“I gave him further advice.” [Advice can not be measured with a ruler or with a calculator.]
Farther means: more, but in a way that CAN be measured.
I gave him further advice. He will advance farther up the ladder at work.” [Rungs of a ladder CAN be counted, thus farther is used.]
A tip to help with the concept of further: There is no such word as farthermore, but there IS furthermore.
“Furthermore, you not only eat too much, you eat too fast.”
[Eating can not be measured precisely, but what a person eats can be quantified.]
“He has been eating all day [can’t be measured].”
“He has been eating plate loads all day” [CAN be measured].
9. their vs. its
Their refers to plural.
The Steelers are having their best season in years. [Their refers to Steelers, a plural noun.]
Its refers to singular:
Pittsburgh is having its best season in years. [Its refers to Pittsburgh, a singular noun.]
NOT: “Pittsburgh is having their best season in years.” [Pittsburgh is singular; their is plural.]
This rule applies to the English spoken in the USA. In the United Kingdom, however, the name of a team IS plural.
They don’t say: “Manchester United is a great team.” But “Manchester United ARE a great team.”
So, the next time the Steelers play in London, you CAN say, “Pittsburgh are a great team. It’s their best season in years.”
10. like vs. as
Finally, a break for those of you who don’t know grammar!
The word like has been misused so often, it is now acceptable to the Oxford English Dictionary for as.
But for the record, here’s the difference:
Like is an adverb. An adverb explains how something is done.
“Big Ben threw the ball wildly. He threw it like crazy.”
Like has been used as a conjunction, connecting two sentences”
Some of us remember the old cigarette commercial: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”
Here are two sentences: “Winston tastes good.” “A cigarette should.”
Like intends to describe how a cigarette tastes. Like is an adverb. “Winston tastes like menthol.”
But in the commercial, like is used not as an adverb but as a conjunction because it connects two sentence: “Winston tastes good.” “A cigarette should.”
“Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”
The more proper conjunction would be as. “Winston tastes good as a cigarette should.”
11. Another word which has wrung acceptance from the Oxford English Dictionary is: alright
Formerly proper usage was: all right.
But alright has been used so often, it is now interchangeable with all right.
“Alright, let’s watch our language.”