5 Tips for There, Their, and They’re From Language Lady

For optimal viewing on a mobile device, tilt your device to landscape mode.

5 Tips for There, Their, and They're From Language Lady

#1

 

There, Their, and They’re Are Homophones

Homophones, homonyms, and homographs are commonly confused (as are the words that fall under each category!). When teaching new words to students, direct them to what they ALREADY know. I tell my students “You know more than you think you know!”

In the case of homophones, I remind students that HOMO means same and PHONE means hear (roughly). Thus, homophones are words that sound the same as each other (but are not spelled the same). With younger kids, I tell them that homoPHONES sound the same when you’re talking on the PHONE–that if you don’t see them written or hear them in a sentence, you don’t know what the speaker means. 

#2

 

Teach There in Two Ways

First of all, I have students highlight the word HERE within tHERE. I remind them that THERE is the word we use when we want to say HERE and THERE. That works for a while; however, it still focuses on position. That is just one of many uses for there. 

Secondly, I tell students that THERE is used when we want to say THERE IS and THERE ARE. This is important to note with older kids especially because these present many challenges, starting with “Do I use THEIR or THERE this time?” and continuing with “Do I use there IS or there ARE?” (In other words, there (and here) presents many subject-verb issues for older students!

#3

 

Their Has the Word HEIR in IT

In moving from there to THEIR, I do something similar in that I have students highlight the HEIR within the word THEIR. The word their is a possessive pronoun. An HEIR is someone who will take the reign. I remind students that someone will be HEIR to the THRONE. And just like a prince is the HEIR, THEIR shows possession. For younger kids, I tell them the HEIR owns the throne and THEIR shows that someone owns something. 

For older students, I remind them that their is a pronoun–and pronouns NEVER show ownership/possession with an apostrophe. (This is debatable for those who call words like other pronouns, but that doesn’t affect most pronouns.) In this regard, I tell them that you would never write their’s to show possession. 

#4

 

They’re Is a Contraction

Since I consistently teach that you do not show possession to a pronoun with an apostrophe, students are used to not using an apostrophe with pronouns. So they’re would never be used to show possession. When an apostrophe is used with a pronoun, it always means a contraction (he’s, she’ll, they’re). 

Contraction means squeezed. I tell students that a contraction is made when you squeeze two words together so hard that some of the letters pop out, and you must put an apostrophe in place of some of the letters. Then I teach something every other class session: Say contractions UNcontracted when you are about to write them. You will know for sure that you want that contraction if you always say the two words (in your head): THEY’RE here–they are here…yes!

#5

 

Bring Them All Together

When providing practice for these with young children, it is good to do the first two, then practice. Then add THEY’RE and practice. My favorite way to practice is to “choose the correct word” for youngers and have olders write the answers in the blank. Be sure the practice has the exact same types of uses as the lessons had. 

Homophone errors are common in writers from second grade through senior citizens! Thus, the real place to practice these words is in the students’ writing. Students need writing teachers who take the time to thoroughly edit their papers, so that the students can learn from their own errors. Rather than holding back on “correcting” their rough draft papers, I use these papers as opportunities to teach. Using proofreaders’ marks, I mark out the incorrect homophone and write the correct one above it. Use every encounter with students as an opportunity to teach!

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Eight Week Grocery Fast – Weeks 3 and 4

 

Well, I am at the three week mark in my grocery fast, and at the beginning of this week, I had only spent $35 (of the $50 I had budgeted for two weeks). (See Weeks 1 and 2 here.) I was encouraged about the dollar amount, but I was somewhat discouraged that it didn’t feel like any of our food stores were going down that quickly. That part didn’t really get any better during Weeks 3 and 4 as I went on a five day writing retreat and ate out each evening with my daughter (who was there for her master’s seminar) for my one meal a day. (Interested in OMAD–One Meal a Day??? Check out my Daily Intermittent Fasting videos, audios, slideshows, and posts here!). While I was gone writing, my husband did manage to use up veggies, broth, and tomato juice since he made himself vegetable soups every night! He didn’t use up any of the meat we had shredded and frozen the previous week, so our stores didn’t really get depleted. But…here is what we did use and do:

(more…)

Short Story Character With Limited Senses – Video & Free Download!

 

In my experience, students either love story writing or hate it. They either have ideas floating around in their heads, waiting for the next story writing unit–or they feel that they have no ideas and hope for a stomach bug that week! This is one reason I use the Directed Writing Approach in my books–so that each step of each type of paper is laid out incrementally.

 

One common problem that students have when story writing is telling “first this happened; then this happened; after this, that happened; later on, this happened” by students. What could be an exciting, action-packed story becomes a narrative/retelling–or worse yet, an essay. Have you ever wondered how to help students from the start with this rambling problem?

(more…)

Punctuation Puzzle – Capitalization & Items in a Series With Alice in Wonderland

By Donna Reish & Zac Kieser

 

This week’s Punctuation Puzzle has to do with capitalizing references to people and commas with a series of three or more. The latter causes much confusion (and is covered, in part, in a recent LL slideshow, “5 Tips for Coordinating Conjunctions”). Moreover, the series of three or more is further confused with the great Oxford Comma debate.

 

(more…)

Slide Show: 5 Tips for Coordinating Conjunctions

For optimal viewing on a mobile device, tilt your device to landscape mode.

5 Tips for Coordinating Conjunctions

#1

 

Teach the Seven Coordinating Conjunctions (cc)

With a Mnemonic    

The beginning of using any writing strategy or technique is to memorize words that fall in that category. (Of course, don’t stop with memorizing them! The best programs teach the parts of speech then practice them then apply them in students’ writing–Teach, Practice, Apply!). 

I use a simple mnemonic created by a wise grammar teacher to help students memorize cc’s: FANBOYS. For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So.

#2

 

Coordinating Conjunctions Can Be Used to Combine

Two Sentences Into One

One of the first conciseness techniques that students can learn easily to expand their sentence writing is that of the compound sentence joined together with ,For/,And/,Nor/,But/,Or/,Yet/,So. The first step in this skill is for the writer to have a thorough understanding of what a sentence contains. That is, they must be able to discern easily that the group of words in question is a complete sentence (CAVES–Capital, All Makes Sense, Verb, End Mark, Subject). (When I edit papers to show complete sentences joined with coordinating conjunctions, I use CS for complete sentence and cc for coordinating conjunctions: CS, cc CS.)

To test for this, cover up each “half” of the sentence and ask yourself if each half could stand alone as a sentence. If they both can, then you can create a compound sentence with a comma-coordinating conjunction:

         I like writing with coordinating conjunctions, for they make my writing more interesting. (YES–,FANBOYS because each half is a complete sentence)

       I like writing with coordinating conjunctions and creating compound sentences. (NO– no comma needed because each half is not a complete sentence)

#3

 

Coordinating Conjunctions Can Also Be Used

for a List of Two or More

The most common coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS) used in lists of two or more are the cc’s OR and AND:

                  We are writing sentences or paragraphs today. 

                We are writing essays, stories, and reports this semester. 

Two important comma rules emerge from the “cc’s for lists” practices: (1) The Oxford Comma Rule–Place a comma between each item in the list with the final comma right before the cc. This is an “optional” or stylistic rule that many grammarians follow for clarity.  (2) Do not place a comma AFTER the cc. Young students seem to do this a lot. Emphasize to them that you’re not dividing the AND or OR, so no comma is needed after the coordinating conjunction. 

#4

 

Other “Coordinating” or “Conjunctive” Types of Words Are Not True Coordinating Conjunctions 

While other words do have conjunctive properties, they are not true coordinating conjunctions that work with a comma before them to combine two sentences into one. This is important to note for correct sentence combining–as they usually join PARTS of sentences but not complete sentences. (This is another reason to learn the true seven FANBOYS!)

For example, WELL is an interjection. THOUGH is a subordinator. THEREFORE is a conjunctive adverb. These all have places in creating interesting sentences but cannot be used with a comma before them to combine two sentences into one.

#5

 

Unfortunately, Some Coordinating Conjunctions

Act As Other Parts of Speech

Seven simple cc’s. A little trick to learn them. Combine two sentences into one sentence with a comma before a FANBOYS. Easy, huh? Well, true to English form, three cc’s CAN be other parts of speech. (So sorry, students!)

First of all, FOR is a cc AND a preposition (for Mom, for the trip, for my brother). AND….. SO and YET are sometimes adverbs (She is SO kind; Have we arrived YET). Exceptions like these make it even more important that we teach students how to TEST the word and rule they are using. When I am teaching compound sentences with cc’s, I have students cover up each half of the sentence and read it aloud. When they practice these for homework, I have them highlight each half of the sentence in a different color highlighter to check for each side’s “completeness.” 

Resources for This Slideshow

1) Teach the Seven Coordinating Conjunctions (cc) With a Mnemonic: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/character.ink-rdreish/Blog_Post_Downloads/TrickyTrick_Compound_Sentences_Coordinating_Conjunctions.pdf

2) Coordinating Conjunctions Can Be Used to Combine Two Sentences Into One: http://characterinkblog.com/comma-clues-1-creating-a-compound-sentence-with-a-comma-coordinating-conjunction-cc/

3) Coordinating Conjunctions Can Also Be Used for a List of Two or More: http://characterinkblog.com/the-oxford-comma-cute/

4) Other “Coordinating” or “Conjunctive” Types of Words Are Not True Coordinating Conjunctions: http://characterinkblog.com/punctuation-puzzle-led-lead-pique-peek-peak-compound-sentences/

5) Unfortunately, Some Coordinating Conjunctions Act As Other Parts of Speech: http://characterinkstore.com/product/think-fast-grammar-quizzes/

Thanks for Joining Donna to Learn About Grammar and Writing!

Check Out Other “5 Tips From Language Lady” slideshows!

5 Places to Find Language Lady/Donna Reish Teaching Grammar and Writing

Pin It on Pinterest