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Irregular Verbs and Pronouns: Writing Skills Success Study Guide (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Sit/Set

These two verbs are very similar to lie and lay. Sit means to rest. Set means to put or place. The following table shows the principal parts of each of these verbs. Their meanings, written in the correct form, appear in parentheses.

Problem Verbs and Pronouns

Choose the correct form of sit or set by using the meanings (the words in parentheses) in the sentence first. Decide which meaning makes the most sense, and then choose the corresponding verb. See how this is done in the following examples.

    The speaker ––––– the chair next to the podium.
      Put or placed makes more sense than rested.
      Choose set.
    The speaker ––––– in the chair next to the podium.
      Rested makes more sense than put or placed.
      Choose sat.

Rise/Raise

The verb rise means to go up. The verb raise means to move something up. Raise requires an object. In other words, something must receive the action of the verb raise (raise your hand, raise the flag, raise the objection, raise children). This table shows the principal parts of both verbs.

Forms of Rise and Raise

Choose the correct form of rise or raise by using the meanings (the words in parentheses) in the sentence first. Decide which meaning makes the most sense, and choose the corresponding verb. See how this is done in the following examples. Sometimes, none of the words seem especially appropriate. Nevertheless, choose the option that makes more sense than any of the others.

    The sun ––––– a little bit earlier each day of the spring.
      Comes up makes the most sense.
      Choose rises.
    Without realizing it, we began to ––––– our voices.
      Move up makes more sense than any of the other options.
      Choose raise.
    The river ––––– over two feet in the last hour.
      Went up makes the most sense.
      Choose rose.

Problem Pronouns

Its/It's

Its is a possessive pronoun that means belonging to it. It's is a contraction for it is or it has. You will use only it's when you can also substitute the words it is. Take time to make this substitution, and you will never confuse these two words.

      A doe will hide its [belonging to it—the doe] fawn carefully before going out to graze.
      It's [it is] time we packed up and moved to a new location.
      The new computer system has proven its [belonging to it] value.
      We'll leave the game as soon as it's [it is] over.

Your/You're

Your is a possessive pronoun that means belonging to you. You're is a contraction for the words you are. You will only use you're when you can also substitute the words you are. Take time to make this substitution, and you will never confuse these two words.

      Is this your [belonging to you] idea of a joke?
      As soon as you're [you are] finished, you may leave.
      Your [belonging to you] friends are the people you most enjoy.
      You're [you are] friends whom we value.

Whose/Who's

Whose is a possessive pronoun that means belonging to whom. Who's is a contraction for the words who is or who has. Take time to make this substitution, and you will never confuse these two words.

      Who's [Who is] in charge of the lighting for the show?
      Whose [belonging to whom] car was that?
      This is the nurse who's [who is] on duty until morning.
      Here is the man whose [belonging to whom] car I ran into this morning.
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