OK, folks, the Grammar Nazi™, here. It’s time for a little lesson on spelling and grammar. Today we are discussing the similar, yet very different words “your” and “you’re” since so many people can’t seem to use them properly. “Your” is a word indicating ownership or possession. “You’re” is a contraction of “you” and “are” indicating that “you are” doing something. According to Webster,
- your = of or relating to you or yourself or yourselves especially as possessor or possessors…
- you’re = you are
Now, repeat after me: your and you’re are not interchangeable! It’s very annoying to read sloppy emails and blog postings from folks who can’t get this straight! Sentences like “If your an Eclipse user…” and “Be sure to set you’re clock back tonight” really get under my skin. It does seem like more people use “your” when they should have used “you’re” than screw up in the other direction, which I do find marginally interesting. I think this whole problem stems from our increased reliance on spell checkers; they won’t catch errors like this because both are valid words, just not in that particular context. I have yet to see a spell checker that would flag “your” when you should have used “you’re,” but maybe they do exist somewhere.
The fact remains: This is not rocket science, and how you write publicly is a representation of who you are and how attentive to detail you are. Some people say “it’s just an email,” or “it’s just my personal blog,” but I don’t see it that way. An email (or blog) is you presenting yourself to another person (or lots of people). If all someone knows of you is your email or your blog, that’s all they have to form an opinion of you. If your grammar and spelling are sloppy, then it seems reasonable to assume that you are too.
Please don’t get me started on “its” vs. “it’s” or “affect” vs. “effect.”