There are certain grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes that I see over and over again, both in the course of my editing work and just generally, out in the wild. In the interests of making the world (and the web) a better place, I’ve decided to run a series of posts on these common – and easy to avoid – language errors.
First up is the epic battle between YOU’RE and YOUR. People mix these two up all the time, saying things like “Your too good for me” and “You’re place or mine?” If you can’t work out why these two sentences are wrong, best you read on attentively.
Here’s how it works:
- YOUR (pronounced “yore”) is the possessive form of “you”. This means that it indicates something belonging to “you”, as in your car, your house, or your excellent sense of humour.
- YOU’RE (pronounced “yure”) is a contraction of “you are”. That’s what the apostrophe* means – a letter has been left out. One could say that you’re adorable, you’re witty, or you’re looking for trouble.
When writing “your” or “you’re”, avoid this mistake by asking yourself, “Can I replace this word with “you are”?” If the answer is yes, then you should write “you’re”. If the answer is no, write “your”. It really is as simple as that.
* I’ll cover the abuse of apostrophes in a later post.