Your Bugging the Crap Out of Me

Your probably not going to believe this, but I believe that the most common grammatical mistake that you're average plebian makes is the confusion of two words - nearly homophonic and separated in spelling only by two characters, but each with very distinct meanings and what one would think would would be easily found distinctions.

Yes, I am going to write here of the your/you're dichotomy, and I hope you noticed that I used exactly the wrong usage of these words in both my title and the preceding paragraph. If you didn't, I very much urge you to continue reading. From now on I shall treat each word as it should be - correctly.

Have you ever noticed, say, teh denegration uv r spch evidenced in text messaging, internet memes, and general popular kultur? Some may claim this is all spurred by convenience, but I beg to differ. In truth these changes must ultimately lie with the desire to abuse language for the abuse's sake, and this is not something I ever deign to indulge - ever. I will admit to have ventured into the realm of the uncapitalized on many an occaision, but this is only in instant messaging, and to say these violations are comprable to the antics of real English killers is like comparing my kissing to the vehement promiscuity of some of my peers. Obviously our current topic is not so serious as that, (nor as fun), but I digress.

One aspect of language denegration I see all too often, however - the ignorance regarding your and you're of which we're speaking - is not something that seems to be spurred by these abusive attitudes. It may well be an indirect result of this for many youngsters, at least to some extent, but largely it's seemed to me it comes down to what I described it as just a sentence ago: ignorance! And so, in the spirit of combating ignorance and creating a better world, here, spelled out in as detailed terms as I can muster, is the difference between your and you're.

Your is your quintessential possessive adjective in the second person. It is used to indicate that you, the person to whom I am currently writing, possesses something.

You're is the contraction used to replace the words you are. Far from being an adjective, you're represents both a noun and verb, so it's something you're going to use frequently.

Although courtesy may be dying among us younguns too, the most common usage of you're is perhaps in "you're welcome" - and in turn this is perhaps the most common time that people mess up with these words, writing "your welcome" instead. There is such a thing as "your welcome" but don't overstay it - and don't misunderstand what it means.

I'm really not going to belabor the point here, (as if writing an entire post about this doesn't do that already), but I do want to cover one last thing: the consideration of these two words as homophones.
Now, I understand that homophones don't have to sound exactly the same when spoken, but if you want to be stringent, I would argue that your and you're are not homophones - at least not in the dialect I speak. The way that I say your, it is a homophone with the word yore (as in "days of yore"). In basic phonetic lettering, I would write it as "YOR." With you're, however, I pretty much always will pronounce the word "YER" - as in the second syllable of foyer. Perhaps this isn't officially correct as a pronounciation, or maybe it's only a regional anomaly, but I think the difference gives my peers who speak just the way I do even fewer excuses to confuse these words.

Lastly, in case you are totally annoyed by my flamboyantly bombastic ramblings on language, here are some much more concise explanations of this simple yet inexplicably misunderstood dichotomy:

And if you do continue down the sad sad path of messing up you're language, remember that your only going to stay among those annoying annoying people who simply bug the crap out of me.


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