5.5 Common Typos ESL Writers Should Avoid

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Fixing and editing typos is one of the different aspects editors go through. As a team in Best Edit, we love to see you grow and improve as a writer. Therefore, we always try to give you tips on how to improve your writing. The team and I came up with this list of 5.5 Most Common Typos ESL Writers Make to help you through your writing journeys! Let’s check it out.

#1 You’re vs. Your

On top of the list is the infamous you’re vs your. Being homophones (sounding similar), you’re/your is known to be the reverse UNO card in online arguments, the you’re/your typo is very common among native and ESL writers. Don’t you worry though! Once you understand how each word is used, you can continue to win online arguments.

– You’re stands for “you are”, examples:

You’re (you are) my companion – Are you my companion?.

You’re going to have to study if you need to pass this year – Are you going to study this year?


-Your is a second-person possessive adjective and is the possessive form of the pronoun you. Examples:

Your vote matters.

Here are some SEO tips I have prepared for you:

It is not always easy to differentiate between the two words. So, my tip for you is trying to use it in a question, will it fit in an “Are you” question? E.g. Are you my companion vs are you voice matters. You can tell the second one is breaking most grammar rules, while the first seems like a legitimate question.


#2 Affect vs Effect

Affect vs. effect comes as the second most common typo we see while editing ESL. Do you want to stop making this mistake? Let me offer a simple explanation.

-“Effect” is a noun and indicates a result. Rarely used as a verb, you can encounter it in places where it means “to bring about” but you should avoid using it as a verb if you aren’t yet sure of your skills.

-“Affect” is the verb meaning “to influence”. Examples:

The effects of Oraz’s screenwriting tips are obvious in his writing.


Oraz was able to affect my screenwriting with his tips.

#3Her/him/they vs. he/she/them

You’re sitting at your house enjoying your morning coffee when your phone suddenly rings. You pick and they ask you “Is this Carl?”. Assuming that you are also a Carl (Please don’t steal my identity), you might answer “Depends” Or if you are a more trusting person, the natural answer is “Yes, this is he. How can I be of help?”. You don’t say “Yes, this is him”.

Even though many people tend to ignore this mistake, it is still one of the most common mistakes we face.

#4 It’s vs. Its

Similar to the first typos, it’s and its are often misused for obvious reasons

It’s is a contraction word of “it” and “is” or “has”, while “its” is possessive, like the word his. An example can be:

It’s going to be a very exciting trip in all its details.

Choosing which word to use is easy. If you can’t figure out which to use, try to use “it is” or “it has” instead. If it doesn’t fit, then drop the apostrophe.


#5 There vs. Their vs. They’re

More common between ESL writers, the difference between there, their, and they’re is major in meaning.

There refers to an area or an idea, their is a third-person possessive adjective, while they’re stands for “they” and “are”. An example can be:

They’re standing over there on their phones without moving.


#5.5 There’s vs Theirs

A continuation of the previous one, there’s and theirs is more common than you’d think. There’s is a contraction of “there” and “is”, while theirs is plural for their, a third person plural possessive pronoun. An example would be:

There’s a whole family that came in and claimed this land as theirs.

To solve this problem, just try replacing there’s with “There is”. If it makes any sense, then you’re right!


Dishonorable mentions:

To vs. Too vs.Two, Lose vs. Loose, Weather vs. Whether, or different changes between British and American English.


Bottom line

This post is nothing but the surface of some of the common mistakes committed by ESL writers that we notice daily. But don’t let this put you down. You’re speaking a whole new language. Only one in three people around the world are bilingual. So, watch out for these small mistakes and write on!

Most importantly, don’t forget we’re here to help!  At Bested.it, we offer different editing and proofreading services because we care about your growth and improvement as a writer.

Like our writing style and need help with your next blog post? Focus on your writing. We’ll handle the rest. Book your editing package now.


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