I don’t see these words used incorrectly in professional writing, but I see these words misused in casual writing, social media, advertising and even business correspondents.
A simple way to check yourself is to simply take a moment and think about the use of the word. Is it a contraction? Is it possessive? If it is a contraction you will be able to substitute, in your head, the two seperate words.
For instance, “your” is possessive. Your nose on your face belongs to you, therefore it is your nose. “You’re” is a contraction, the combining of “you” and “are.” I believe you’re cool because you read this blog.
I was chatting online with my younger brother on Facebook and I responded with a crazy, funny statement. My brother typed back, “Your nuts.” So I responded, “What about my nuts?” He didn’t get it.
I admit I am a poor speller and sometimes a careless writer and I have to proof the heck out of my stuff (see Editing and Proofing), but I always get its and it’s, your and you’re, and there, their and they’re correct. I even pronounce them correctly, and you didn’t know there was a difference, did you?
For a humorous look at 10 commonly misused words with visuals that may help you remember how to use them correctly, visit this post by The Oatmeal, a clever and funny artist.