Your vs You’re

I have been meaning to write a blog for a long time now. Different topics crossed my mind but nothing seems to want and stay long enough for me to develop it. Politics, movies, books and controversial current events have all captured my interest but only fleetingly so. I wanted to flex my writing muscles but alas the stimulus just wasn’t strong enough until now. (The fact that I have been off for two days and tomorrow is a bank holiday could very well be just what the doctor has ordered for the person with a writer’s block 🙂 )

This evening I have finally decided to put into writing one of my pet peeves. The fact that several number of people have seem to lose the understanding of ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ has been annoying me for a while now. I simply cannot grasp how these two could be interchanged even by intelligent people I know. As English is not our native tongue in the Philippines, we actually studied the language for at least 12 years of our academic life. After at least twelve years of studying the language I would have thought that most Filipinos would know the distinction between the terminologies. For those who have English as their own language I would have thought that this would be a non-issue but it seems I am sadly mistaken.

The inability to distinguish between these two terminologies is but a symptom of the ailing English language, I think. I do not claim to be fully proficient in my command of the language but I would like to think that I have enough to know the difference between the word “your” and the contraction “you’re”. So, why exactly is the English language suffering so badly these days? The education system has made some leaps and bounds over the past years so it should be better compared to how it was when I was still in school. I think that the advent of ‘texting’ had an adverse impact on our grammar and spelling. In an effort to save the amount of characters used in a text message, people started using abbreviations of words instead of the correct spelling and foregoing the use of correct grammar as long as the message gets across. Then some teeny boppers think that bad spelling and grammar is cool so it becomes the trend. When did being intelligent and well-spoken become ‘uncool’? Media has made mediocrity the hype. But, really and truly, is bad spelling and grammar an invention of the 21st century? I think that it is only now that it is so glaringly evident because people have a hundred and one ways of expressing themselves across the globe. People sometimes write blogs and shout outs in the height of their emotions that they do not think of re-checking their spelling or grammar. One good example of this sad state of affair is a shout out of a friend on one of the social networks.It is pretty obvious that she was at the height of her anger when she wrote her snobbish put-down. I was silently applauding her use of vocabulary and figure-of- speech until the last statement wherein she wrongly used ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re…twice. Once I would have written off as a mistake as a result of her emotion but the second one would belie this notion. The last bit made me cringe on how an obviously intelligent person gets it wrong.

Years ago, a badly written letter or message will most likely be only perused by the recipient , now we have a whole worldwide web as our audience. So, is technology the culprit then for the deterioration of our command of the English language? It would be so easy to say yes to this question but technology actually should make it easier for us. We have spelling and grammar checks built in the software so the computer can even do the thinking for us. Definitions of words or terms are but one ‘google’ away so really and truly we should be getting better at composing our thoughts than before. People are often so much in a hurry these days that they do not want to spend another iota of their time examining what they have written and intended to broadcast to the digital world.

Maybe I am indeed getting on with my age that this little thing annoys me so that it actually held my interest for more than 30 minutes now. So, for those who want to put out an effective put-down or express their exuberant joy in the future, let technology do some of the work for you. Utilise your spelling and grammar checks on your computer. Check the definition of the highfalutin word you intend to use so it can be used correctly and effectively. Take time to read your composition so you are assured that it will convey exactly what you want. Lastly, think real hard before you click the ‘post’ button because once released, your words cannot be taken back and may inadvertently reveal more than you want of your real character.

For those who are now confused as to when to correctly use ‘your’ and ‘you’re … The word ‘your’ is a possessive adjective. Example, ‘Your bag was left in the car.’ You’re’ is a contraction of the words ‘you are’. Example, ‘You ‘re reading this blog now.’ I hope it clears it up a little bit otherwise google them before using these words.

So adieu for now until another inspiration or exasperation moves the writing clogs in my brain. 🙂

May 2012

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