I ran across the same homonym problem twice today (June 28) in two pieces of copy — there (the adverb), their (the third person plural possessive pronoun) and they’re (the contraction for they are). It’s a rather common mistake. I think the words are often just mistyped.Here are the sentences that I encountered today:Holly Jones holds her 6-month-old son, Lleyton, as orthotist Laura Plank takes off the plastic helmet that helps direct the cranial growth of Lleyton’s skull. Lleyton has a misshapen head and wears the helmet to correct it, the condition is caused from babies sleeping on there backs. (That should be their, of course.)Some kids walk and run early and they’re speech is slower. (This one should be their too.)I ran Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar check on these sentences, and the checker didn’t flag these incorrect homonyms. Our editing system at The N&O also depends on human beings to catch homonym mistakes. So the lesson here is to double-check your typing to make sure that you have the right word.
This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.