Common Core Grammar Lesson: There, Their and They’re; To, Too and Two
---Conventions of Standard English
Students learn about the proper use of the homophone groups there/their/they’re and to/too/two. After practice exercises, they demonstrate mastery using worksheets.
Learn about the proper use of the homophone groups there/their/they’re and to/too/two.
Practice proper usage using activities and worksheets.
Language Arts, English, writing, grammar, literacy, Common Core, Conventions of Standard English, homophones
Paper and pencils
Copy of There, Their, They’re worksheet for each student
Copy of To, Too, Two worksheet for each student
One copy of worksheet answer key
(if desired) Highlighter markers
(If desired) Individual student whiteboards and dry-erase markers
(if desired) Method of displaying pictograph images for students (e.g., computer and LCD projector)
(If desired) Student computer access for online practice exercises
The English language includes many words that sound the same but are spelled differently. The words, called homophones, are often confused when people write. Good examples include there, their and they’re and to, too and two.
There, Their and They’re
Here’s how to tell the difference:
1. There is about place or location. There is also used with the verb “be” (is, am, are, was, were) to show that something exists.
The book is over there. (location)
There are three birds outside the window. (something exists)
2. Their shows belonging or ownership.
3. They’re is a contraction (shortened form) of “they are.”
They’re going to a concert tonight.
This wiki suggests some handy tests that students can use to determine if they’re using there, their and they’re correctly:
If you wrote there, will the sentence still make sense if you replace it with here?
If you chose their, will the sentence still make sense if you replace it with our?
If you used they're, will the sentence still make sense if you replace it with they are?
Visualizing a scenario may also help: “Over there, they're throwing their ball.” Challenge students to write a sentence that provides another visual scenario.
To, Too and Two
This blog post from ESL Library News explains how to tell the difference:
1. To is used for many reasons, including communicating movement, purpose and basic forms of verbs called infinitives.
He’s going to the mall after class. (movement)
A compass points to the north. (direction)
They came to our rescue. (purpose)
I’m taking this class to improve my English. (infinitive of purpose)
Do you want me to call you later? (infinitive)
2. Too means “also,” “very much” or “to too large a degree.”
Can she come too? (also)
It’s too cold to go swimming. (to too great a degree)
3. Two means “a number equaling one plus one.”
We have two dogs at home.
More Activity Ideas
From textbooks, classroom library books or other sources, read to students sentences that include the word there, their, they’re, to, too or two. After listening to the sentence, each student writes the correct spelling of the target word on his/her individual whiteboard and then holds it up for the teacher to see. Alternately, the teacher can display sentences with the target word omitted, and then ask students to write the correctly spelled missing word on their whiteboards.
Give students age-appropriate newspapers and magazines and have them use highlighter markers to highlight instances of the words there, their, they’re, to, too or two. Ask them to share the sentence with the class and explain why the target word was spelled the way it was. Have classmates test for correct usage by using substitute words with equivalent meaning (e.g., “very much” instead of “too”). Alternately, have students work in pairs, with one partner reading the sentence from the newspaper or magazine and the other providing the correct spelling of the target word.
In pairs, groups or individually, have students write original sentences using at least two forms of each homophone. Ask them to share their sentences with classmates, omitting the target words and having classmates provide the correctly spelled word.
They’re not going to get there on time if they miss their bus.
Two dollars is too much to spend.
Assess student mastery with EducationWorld worksheets covering there, their and they’re as well as to, too and two. Check student work against the answer key. How many did students get correct?
Lesson Plan Source
Celine Provini, EducationWorld Editor
Common Core State Standards
Conventions of Standard English – CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1g: Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their)
Copyright © 2013 Education World