Your and You’re

March 29, 2011

in Lifestyle

YOUR is possessive, and YOU'RE is for when you mean YOU ARE.

When you use YOU and YOUR, you are targeting your words to one person, just like I am in this message to you.  You do not want to single out one reader because it might not apply to everyone. The only time you should be using second person, other than in direct conversation, or letter writing, is when you are writing a speech to be delivered to a specific audience, or writing a how-to manual when you are addressing each individual reading the instructions. Otherwise, it should always be third person.

Suppose you wrote something like: You could make the boss think you are ignorant by using improper grammar. If I read it, I would assume you were talking to me. I do not use improper grammar, and I might be irritated at your words. However, if you said "Employees could make the boss think they were ignorant by using improper grammar", that would be specific, and not targeted at the reader. Do you see the difference?

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Lindsey

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{ 2 comments }

Jess March 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm

TOTAL pet peeve of mine when people get these wrong!!! Not sure if it’s because I’m a teacher or what but it drives me crazy!!! Thank you for this!!

Christine March 31, 2011 at 10:02 am

Pet peeve of mine over here as well.  I try not to complain too loudly over it since my punctuation is horrendous.  Comma?  Semicolon?  Colon?  Ugh, I need a refresher!
Visiting from SITS 🙂

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