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4 February, 2016

It seems that your and you’re have gotten majorly confused in the online communities.  The most common error is using your for you’reYou’re is a contraction of “you are”; the apostrophe (‘) takes the place of the missing aYour is a possessive adjective, as in “your blue eyes”.   I seldom see the opposite — using you’re for your.  I suspect that’s because you’re is more complex, and increasing numbers of people don’t seem to know what the heck the uses of an apostrophe are (see also Apostrophe Apocalypse).

I frequently see phrases like “your an idiot” which, of course, turns that shot toward one’s own foot.  I have a growing belief that pronunciation, becoming a lost art, is involved.  There are subtle but important differences between the pronunciation of your and you’re.  If one cannot pronounce a word, it makes sounding it out and differentiating the spelling more difficult.  Your sounds as if it has a long ‘o’, as in the word “yore”.  You’re sounds more like “yew-er”.  After all, the base word is “you”.  Oh  for the days of yore.

As with most language errors, the misuse of your makes the knowledge of the user suspect.  The last thing most of us want is to have our statements or arguments dismissed as those of someone who is intellectually challenged but that does not seem to stop us.  It’s enough to make Eyore suicidal on top of his basic depression.

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