There, Their, or They’re?

These groups of words sound the same, or similar to each other.  It can be confusing to know which one to use when you write.  Examples:

  • I’m going to Boston.
  • I’m hungry and she is too.
  • There is too much snow.
  • I have two daughters.
  • She bought some groceries and then she went home.
  • My car is older than your car.
  • Plum Island is a pretty place and I’m going there tomorrow.
  • They’re very excited kids.
  • Their car is in front of my car.
  • Can I use your phone?
  • You’re my best friend.
  • They were at the beach yesterday.
  • We’re happy that you can come to visit us.
  • Where are you going?

There are many more commonly confused words.

— Thanks to Pat for suggesting this article —

Regular Verbs and Their Spelling

Most English verbs are regular.  The past tense and the past participle of all regular verbs end in -ed.

Work (base/infinitive form of the verb) – I work in Boston.
Worked (past tense) – Yesterday I worked in Boston.
Worked (past participle) – I have worked in Boston for three years.

Play – Played – Played
Cry – Cried – Cried
Stop – Stopped – Stopped

Here’s a long list of 600 common regular English verbs.  For all of these verbs, the past tense form (and the past participle) ends with the letters “ed“.

Here is more detail for the spelling rules for regular verbs.

Yes/No Questions with ‘Does’

Don’t Say Say This
Does she has a car?
Does she have a car?
Does your father has an appointment? Does your father have an appointment?
Does he goes to Boston every Tuesday? Does he go to Boston every Tuesday?
Does the milk smells ok? Does the milk smell ok?
Does she likes pizza? Does she like pizza?

Remember

  • Present Tense – Use when something happens in the present in a usual/regular way.
  • Base Form of a verb – Same as the infinitive, without the ‘to’
    • Examples of base verbs: go (not – goes, going, went); like, have, do, eat, work, play
  • For he/she/it in present tense – Pronounce the sound of the S at the end of most verbs
    • He cooks every night.  She goes there often.  It looks good.
  • BUT – for questions, use the base form of the main verb
    • So… She has a new dress.    But… Does she have a new dress?
    • She goes to school every Tuesday.    But…  Does she go to school every Tuesday?
  • Answering these yes/no questions
    • Does she have a car?
      • Yes she does.  (or – Yes, she has a car.)
      • No she doesn’t.  (or – No, she doesn’t have a car.)
    • Does she like pizza?
      • Yes she does.  (or – Yes, she likes pizza)
      • No she doesn’t.  (or – No, she doesn’t like pizza.)
      • Don’t SayYes, she like. or – Yes, she likes.

Here’s another good explanation from Woodward English:

He/She/It – Present Tense

Don’t Say Say This
He work in Boston.
He works in Boston.
She like pizza. She likes pizza.
Her dress look beautiful. Her dress (it) looks beautiful.
My brother do landscaping. My brother (he) does landscaping.
My daughter try to help her little sister. My daughter (she) tries to help her little sister.

Remember

  • Present Tense – Use when something happens in the present in a usual/regular way.
  • For he/she/it in present tense – Don’t forget to pronounce the sound of the S at the end of the verb.
  • Add the s (or ‘es’) only when
    • it’s with a he/she/it form (called ‘3rd person’)
      (not with I/you/we/they)
    • it’s in the present tense
    • the sentence is affirmative (not negative)
      • Affirmative example: His mother cooks dinner every night.
      • Negative example: His mother doesn’t cook dinner every night.
  • When s/es is added to the end of the word, the sound can be different – depending on the word.
    Here’s an explanation:

It’s from Woodward English in England, but the American pronunciation is very similar.

Pick Up

Don’t Say Say This
Pick it up the pencil.
or Pick up it.
Pick up the pencil.
or – Pick the pencil up.
or – Pick it up.
I’m going to pick it up my daughter. I’m going to pick up my daughter.
or – I’m going to pick my daughter up.
I’m going to pick up her/she. I’m going to pick her up.

Remember

  • to pick up is a “phrasal verb” (a two-word verb).  The most common meanings are:
    1. To lift something/someone from a surface
      Ex: He picked up his book.
    2. To meet someone and take them with you.
      Ex: I have to pick up my kids after school.
  • You can pick something up – or – pick up something
    Ex: Pick up the package.  or  Pick the package up.
  • But – You can only use a pronoun in the middle – between “pick” and “up”
    You can Pick her up or Pick it up.
    Incorrect: Pick up it. or Pick up her.
  • Also, Don’t use the noun and its pronoun together.
    Pick up the phone. – or – Pick the phone up. -or- Pick it up.
    But NOT: Pick it up the phone.
  • There are some other meanings of this phrasal verb too.
  • You can see pick up used as part of a conversation in many examples from YouGlish below.  You can press the Next Track button   to see another example.

Visit YouGlish.com

Free Rice

  Practice your English vocabulary and grammar on freerice.comEvery time you get an answer correct, a small amount of money (equal to about 10 grains of rice) is donated to help end world hunger.

  • When you answer correctly, the questions get more difficult.
  • If you get the answer wrong, the next answer will be easier.
  • This is the new version, which is better for smartphones and tablets.
  • There are many other categories you can try, such as geography, science, math, and other languages.

Supposed To

Don’t Say Say This
I supposed to work tomorrow. I am supposed to work tomorrow.
My sister suppose be here for dinner. My sister is supposed to be here for dinner.
I suppose be here early this morning? Was I supposed to be here early this morning?
My son no suppose to go outside today. My son is not supposed to go outside today.

Remember

  • The phrase supposed to means expected to, or required to.  Used this way…
    1. It must include the verb to-be before it (I am supposed to…  He is supposed to….)
    2. Supposed is spelled with a d at the end, but that doesn’t mean it’s past tense (He is/was supposed to…)
    3. It is followed by the main verb of the sentence (My father is supposed to fly to Boston tomorrow.)
  • To be supposed to is similar to Have to, and Ought to
    • Supposed to – something expected or required – but it might not happen
      (Ex: I was supposed to be home for dinner, but the traffic made me late.)
    • Have to – similar to must.  There is no choice.
      (Ex: I have to stop at a red light.)
    • Ought to – similar to should.
      (Ex: You ought to stop smoking.)
  • To be supposed to is different from the verb suppose.  Suppose means to presume, or think something is true.
    (Ex: I suppose she’s happy, but I’m not sure.)