It's a common mistake. Everyone makes it, right? Even grammar experts. Right? That's what I keep telling myself after typing (and tweeting) "your" when I meant "you're." Yep. That's right. GB, tweeting as IAMGrammarBitch nonetheless, used the wrong word. It was an honest mistake. I changed my sentence quickly, and so the word I needed to use changed as well. But I didn't change it. And then I clicked send, and a lovely word choice error went out into the black hole of Twitterdom, forever to be associated with GB's Twitter account.
So, I told myself, there's no better time to write a blog about YOUR and YOU'RE. And you, faithful readers, are the lucky recipients of my hypocritical post.
A little back story
I admit it. When people type "your" when they mean to shorten "you are," it drives me crazy. I think, if only for a second, that they need to go back to school and pick up the basics. I may even question their intelligence. I'm a grammar snob, and I know it. Yes, as I've admitted freely before, I make mistakes. And I'm open to having them pointed out and laughed at. But I never thought I'd make this one - and while sending a fun and flirty text to the one and only Nathan Fillion, aka Captain Tightpants, Malcolm, Castle, Captain Hammer, Caleb, Joey B. of the almighty Buchanan clan, @NathanFillion...Ugh!
It was my first twitter response ever, and my first as IAMGrammarBitch. So when I read my tweet after sending, I was horrified! Not only did I send out a grammatical error into cyberspace, but I sent it out to someone who comes from a family of English teachers - someone I have a serious fangirl crush on. Damn it! I laughed so hard I almost peed in my pants. And then I promptly deleted the tweet.
So now, although I am obviously not the best person to be teaching you how to choose the right word, I am going to give it a shot.
It refers to something you possess. Something that is, get this, yours. You can say to someone "I love your hair" (meaning, the hair that belongs to you). And although you may just be BSing, you'll also be grammatically correct. Of course, there are times when you may need to specify "I love the hair on your head" so the guy (or gal I suppose) you're trying to impress doesn't take this as a non-Movember excuse to grow an ungodly awful mustache.
I don't need to go on too long about this one because most people get it right. If you're guessing that people make a mistake when talking about something they are (or you are) not going to believe and use the word your (a la "your not going to believe how awesome I am!"), well then, you're correct. yes, you are.
You're is a contraction for you are. You are smart should be shortened to you're smart - not "your smart". If you're stroking someone's ego on Facebook, you might be inclined to post something as mundane as "You are so right! I had no idea you were such a genius!" And because your fingers are a little lazy (or you just want to be casual), you decide to shorten the "you are" portion. And, if you're like (what seems to be) 99% of the Facebook users, you'll make the mistake of writing "Your so right! I had no idea you were such a genius!" And you'll make it clear to the people reading your post that although your friend may indeed be a genius, you, it seems, are not. At least that's what your grammar error says to the world.
You're means you are. It is not a gateway to possession. (For blogs about gateways to some things, check out oilchanges.blogspot.com).
Here's a sentence that uses both correctly (although likely said by no spouse ever). "You're so lucky that your husband cooks and cleans and expects nothing in return."
Here's a quiz. Identify the sentences with "your" errors (that will, after you read this blog, hopefully not be your errors).
1. If your not going to vote in this election, don't think for a minute I'm going to listen to you kvetch for the next four years.
2. My sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend told me that your having a boob job. Can I ask you one question? Saline or silicone?....Do I want to feel them? Your serious? Uh, yeah!
3. Two words. You're amazing.
4. Your not going to believe how badly the Packers got trounced. It was in-freaking-credible, dude! The Bears will be pooping gold and green tomorrow. (If you are posting this on Facebook, you get points from many Chicagoans for at least getting part of this post right).
5. Please, I beg you, warn me before your going to release another one of those noxious farts - especially under the covers.
1. Your error. (Certainly not mine).
2. Your error. (Actually, two your errors).
3. Yep. That one is correct.
4. Your error. (But extra credit can be awarded if you at least smiled).
5. Your error.
Sentences should read:
1. 1. If you're not going to vote in this election, don't think for a minute I'm going to listen to you kvetch for the next four years.
2. My sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend told me that you're recovering from a boob job. Can I ask you one question? Saline or silicone?....Do I want to feel them? You're serious? Uh, yeah!
3. Two words. You're amazing.
4. You're not going to believe how badly the Packers got trounced. It was in-freaking-credible, dude! The Bears will be pooping gold and green tomorrow. (If you are posting this on Facebook, you get points from many Chicagoans for at least getting part of this post right.)
5. Please, I beg you, warn me before you're going to release another one of those noxious farts - especially under the covers.
So that's it for now. Now go tell all your friends your going to get this right from now on. (Did you catch that one? Good. You're learning.)
All my love,