Common mistake #1: You're your own worst enemy

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.

Bolton, busted. And on Twitter too.

At last. It’s official. We know who Bolton Deventer is. Minutes ago a tweet was submitted in Bolton-speak, apparently under the wrong user name, and moments later it had been deleted. Highly suspect behaviour, I’d say.

The message appears to have been posted in response to the following tweet from Dave Duarte yesterday:

@boltondeventer Eish, if only we could afford you at #nomadicmarketing conferensie!

And here is the evidence:

Bolton Deventer aka Matthew Buckland

Well done to Simone Puterman, the super-sleuth who spotted the connection. The world will never be the same.

UPDATE: Matthew Buckland is doggedly refusing to admit to his alter ego. This from Twitter:

“matthewbuckland: For zillionth time i am not BD… some very interesting creatives with photoshop there… i have to say… it’s not april 1, is it…?”

“matthewbuckland: @SimoneBiz tsk tsk… u r barking up a tree, leading everyone down the garden path… tsk tsk…”

So, just in case you’re tempted to fall for his stubborn refutation of the truth, we present even further evidence, from a different Twitter account.

Bolton Deventer aka Matthew Buckland

2nd Annual New Media Marketing conference

Yup, that’s where I’m off to tomorrow… and very excited about it I am too. The event kicks off tomorrow morning with a pre-conference workshop entitled The A to Z of New Media Jargon. Since I’ll be missing this, I can only hope that by now I know more than a fair bit of the jargon in question.

A few of the sessions I’m particularly looking forward to are:

  • Assessing Affiliate Marketing And The Instant Global Sales Force It CreatesEric Edelstein (Eric’s a lively speaker who knows how to keep audience attention, and affiliate marketing is something I haven’t really investigated in any kind of depth yet.)
  • Adopting New Technology Platforms In A Healthcare EnvironmentJon M. Bishop (Healthcare, insurance, second-hand-car sales, they’re all generally considered “boring” industries – we have a couple of clients in “boring” businesses just like this, and so I’m always keen to find out what other people have done to attract and keep attention.)
  • Effectively Capitalising On Your Target Market By Identifying Mobile Trends In South Africa – Arthur Goldstuck (I haven’t had much opportunity to investigate mobile trends, and I’m keen to learn as much as I can.)
  • Exploring The Role Of “Consumer 2.0” – The New Role Of The Content User And Its Consequences For Content ProvidersVincent Maher (It doesn’t much matter to me what Vincent’s talking about – his sense of humour (which he’ll deny having, no doubt) makes any topic interesting. But as it happens, this topic does interest me, so it’s a double win.)
  • Engaging The Youth Of Today Through Social MediaTyler Reed (I’m not technically young enough to be considered part of the youth anymore (unless you apply very loose standards indeed), and I find the idea that this world of incredibly rapid change and obligatory multi-tasking is the only world they’ve ever known to be deeply fascinating.)

More than this, I’m really looking forward to meeting some of my Twitter and Facebook friends for the first time. When I was younger I was always encouraged to have penpals – well, I have plenty of them now, only we converse in real time, and don’t post one another scented envelopes and postcards. 😉