So I really wanted to talk about something I find very important, especially for those learning to master the English language. I realized that the minimal emphasis on spelling in public schools led to a major fault in the younger generation's writing skills. I found that unless a child reads often, it's hard for them to determine what "there" one might be talking about. Often times, students may know the context of where to place the word in a spoken sentence, however not choose the correct spelling of the term in written sentences. Being able to spell properly and maintain good grammar is something essential to children for the rest of their lives -- be it writing essays for school or applying for grants/scholarships, sending letters, filling out job applications, or even having to teach others. As parents, teachers, or educators I believe that spelling tests should still be in full effect to separate words with multiple meanings into individual words with the same pronunciation. Until then, here are a few of those tricky words you might want to work on with your children or students to guarantee they're learning English in every aspect of the language:
THERE: Used in regards to location or quantity of something
ex. "I left my notebook over there!" - expresses location of notebook
ex. There are 27 students in my class - expresses quantity of students
THEIR: Used in regards to ownership; plural.
ex. This is their project - expresses ownership of the project among more than one person
THEY'RE: Contraction of THEY and ARE.
ex. They're at the park - expresses location of whoever they are
WHERE: Used to express location of something; usually used to start a question.
ex. Where is my purse?
WERE - past tense of ARE; plural for WAS (this is pronounced differently, but often confused with we're so I included it)
ex. We were at the park
WE'RE - Contraction of WE and ARE
ex. We're at the park
WEAR - Usually used in regards to dressing yourself; used in terms of something falling apart (wear out or wear and tear)
ex. I will wear the red shirt tomorrow.
ex. Walking around in the same boots everyday will wear out the shoe quickly
YOUR - Expresses ownership
ex. This is your pen
YOU'RE - Contraction of YOU and ARE
ex. You're a great friend
AS FOR CONTRACTIONS --
In many professional documents, contractions are deemed unacceptable so try to keep their usage at a minimum and only used in informal works. Also, when you do use them DO NOT forget to include the apostrophe before 't' or 's' -- otherwise, it is not a word. Many students forget to put the apostrophe and sometimes do not even know what two words the contraction consists of. Be sure to elaborate on what each contraction represents so students do not start to think "dont" is a word.
DON'T - do not
WON'T - will not
SHOULDN'T - should not
COULDN'T - could not
ISN'T - is not
WOULDN'T - would not
IT'S - it is
Sometimes people say "AIN'T"
Since there is no break down of AIN'T, it is rendered as a slang term for the contraction ISN'T. Please try your best to correct children when they use this word to avoid making habits of it and to strengthen their understanding of properly using contractions.
Good luck future writers :)