Real Estate Marketing Grammar and Word Choices: Our and Are

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

In real estate marketing your grammar and word choices really do make a difference - because in many instances the words you choose are the first impression your prospects have of you and your professionalism.

Your primary goal should be to make your words "disappear." In other words, your reader shouldn't have to think about the words at all - he or she should just absorb the message. 

To accomplish that, you have to eliminate anything that creates a stop sign - where the reader has to stop, look twice, and figure out what you meant to say. 

Stop sign

There are all kinds of stop signs. Misspelled words, editing errors, misplaced modifiers - and the use of words that might sound like what you meant, but when written, mean something else entirely. 

We've discussed manyof these pairs: your/you're; there/their; hear/here; rain/reign/rein; sole/soul; heel/heal; etc. 

One that really puzzles me is our / are. 

They aren't spelled similarly, and the meanings are SO far apart... 

Usually the misuse is something like "That's are car." Today I saw it incorrectly used the opposite way: "Most of us our area experts right?"

I stopped and read that three times before I realized that the writer meant "Most of us are area experts."

So for anyone who doesn't know - and I doubt if that includes anyone who will read this post -but just in case...

"Are" is a verb. It's one of the forms of "to be": "be, am, is, are, was, were, been" that we should all have learned in elementary school. 

We are all members of Active Rain. You are area experts. They are tired after a hard day at work. Cats are usually more aloof than dogs. 

"Our" is a determiner - an adjective indicating ownership.

Our family, our car, our house, our favorite restaurant, our city, our country, our planet, our environment, our hopes for the future.

For more word choice rants...

Advice or advise?

Prospective or perspective?

Who or that? 

Who or whom?

Hugh or huge? 

I or me?

Comments (9)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

No question in my mind.  The text is dictated and printed automatically and the person dictating is speaking with an accent.

Sep 27, 2013 06:53 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Lenn - That could be it. A whole lot of people say "are" when meaning "our." So then it becomes a matter of proofreading. 

However... it could also be a matter of schooling. The first time I saw this was when I was helping with a local 4-H Club - and some of those honors students were misusing are and our in their hand-written workbooks. 

Sep 27, 2013 07:11 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Marte, at least I get these two words correct.  The advise and advice is a different story!

Sep 27, 2013 10:29 AM
Bette Gottwald
UNITED REAL ESTATE | Central PA - Mechanicsburg, PA
"Bet"on Central PA Real Estate!

Marte, I agree with Lenn's comment. Voice activated text is often not recognized in the proper context. If using the voice activation feature, it important to proofread. 

Sep 27, 2013 12:07 PM
John G. Johnston
John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC - Westcliffe, CO
An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO

Marte  You know I need all the help I can get!  Thanks for posting this one.  And I agree with Joan...I never know that one.

Sep 27, 2013 01:09 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Joan - and John. There must be some trick you can use to remember. How about this: Inside the word advice is "ice." Ice is a thing - therefore a noun. Advice is a noun. Something you can give to someone. 

Bette - It's always important to proofread - especially if you have dyslexic fingers like mine. It's doubly so if you use voice activated software!

John - You're welcome. As for advice and advise - see my suggestion above. 


Sep 27, 2013 01:16 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Marte...this is another fine example of why everyone should not will do them more harm than good... those are the agents who should hire someone to create their posts.

Sep 27, 2013 08:17 PM
Broker Patty Da Silva Da Silva
Green Realty Properties® - 954-667-7253 - Cooper City, FL
Top Listing Broker

Thanks for sharing such an informative post Marte. Happy Saturday!

Sep 28, 2013 01:50 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Barbara - Yes. We encourage everyone to blog - but those who really don't know grammar, spelling, and word choice should get an assistant to do it for them. 

Patty - A happy Saturday to you as well! 

Sep 28, 2013 02:43 AM