No. 10 - How to spell its or it’s, your or you’re, their, there or they’re

Avoiding those common spelling errors
on Tue 25 Aug

OK - I’ll come clean -  as a copywriter spelling mistakes jump off the page at me. These raise my blood pressure and mean that I’ll judge you if you constantly use its instead of it’s, your instead of you’re and the wrong version of there, their or they’re. Over 1400 people have been so worried about how to spell the word they need to use that they've read my post!


I’m sorry, I realise English is tricky but just nailing the difference between these commonly misused words will stop you being negatively judged by potential clients who may (wrongly) decide that these mistakes reflect a lack of education or expertise.


So let’s look at my top 5 pet hates in misspelling with some marketing lessons along the way.



  1.      It’s or its  


It’s is the short form of it is: 


  • It’s not good to see spelling mistakes in professional marketing
  • It’s enough to make a copywriter weep


Its is used in a possessive sense – so whatever you’re talking about belongs to something:


  • Do you think the company has thought about its target market?
  • Its advert hasn’t changed for over a year


Yes I am giving small marketing insights as we go along – so double bubble! This is effective multi-tasking of course…


  1. you’re or your  


The logic behind this is the same as above so you’re is a contraction of you are:


  • because you’re worth it is a short strapline so it’s memorable
  • you’re driving me mad with the same old stock photos


Your is possessive so


  • your website is not responsive so you will be penalised by Google
  • you seem to be struggling with your social media – I can help!



  1. They’re or their or there


Brilliant so now we have three choices…


Ok, they’re is a shortened form of they are


  • They’re still not using an e-mail signature
  • They’re not updating the blog very often


Their is possessive


  • Their direct mail letter is not as engaging as it might be
  • Their customers get no value from their newsletter so are unsubscribing




  • there is lots of free advice via my blog
  • there are many ways in which I could help you to improve your marketing and social media



  1. Could of instead of could have, would of instead of would have or should of instead of should have


This is very easy, and there are no exceptions – YOU NEVER USE OF AFTER COULD, SHOULD OR WOULD. It’s HAVE




Did I say never?


  1. Use of “alot” instead of “a lot”


I’m just going to lie down in a small dark room… there is no such thing as alot – it is a (space) lot.


This spelling error happens so often that the blog Hyperbole and a Half wrote a very funny post about it.  This is well worth a visit


Because this topic is only slightly less popular than my rant on complimentary and complementary (which has nearly 1500 visits) I've written my spelling mistake posts consecutively.  But I promise I won’t make a habit of it - I’ve got it all out of my system now – and feel  alot – sorry a lot -  better thank you.

Please do your bit to raise the general standard of spelling by sharing this post. And if copywriting is not your thing why not make use of my copywriting service? 


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