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Please forgive the rant, but I’ve just about reached my limit.

Every day, I see an email or blog comment in which the writer has mixed up your and you’re. Some writers even mix up to and too.

Seriously, I see “to bad” all the time. I usually assume it’s just a typo. Then, I’ll see the same writer make the same mistake again… and I can no longer avoid the astonishing conclusion that he actually doesn’t know the difference! Weren’t we taught the difference between to and too in about grade two?

If we want to make a positive impression, we should at least demonstrate an understanding of the rules taught in elementary school. So here are a few basic distinctions.

Your vs You’re

Your is a possessive. I like your hat.

You’re is the contracted form of You are.

You’re going to love your new hat.

Whose vs Who’s

Use whose when you’re asking who owns something.

Whose hat is this?

Who’s is the contracted from of Who is.

Who’s coming to dinner?

There vs Their vs They’re

Use there when you mean, “There it is. It’s right there.”

Their means it belongs to them. It’s their house.

They’re is a contraction of they are.

They’re on their way. In fact, they’re almost there.

Peak vs Peek vs Pique

Peak means the top of something, like a mountain’s peak.

Peek means taking a quick look at.

Pique means to arouse (or to irritate or annoy).

Take a peek at the mountain peak. Does it pique your interest?

Complement vs Compliment

Complement means to go well with something.

Red wine complements steak.

Compliment means to say something nice.

When I said you’d gained weight, I meant it as a compliment.

To vs Too

Sorry, but I just can’t bring myself to explain this one. Google it or something.