Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Light in the Darkness V

Over this past week I have noticed this particular problem coming up and casting its evil shadow across the grammar-scape. There was only one thing to be done. This week's grammar blog must address the issue of your/you're.

Yeah, I'm talking to you.

The difficulty with this issue comes from the fact that they sound very similar in speech, and they are very close in spelling. But their meanings are completely different.

“Your” is the second person (singular and plural) possessive. Here is an example.

“Your crossbow is out of blessed bolts, so the rakshasa will devour your soul.”

WTH is a rakshasa?!

Both the crossbow and the soul belong to you (at least until the rakshasa devours the soul), so the possessive “your” is correct.

“You missed with your last bolt, and you're as good as dead.”

“You're” is correct here because “you are” would be correct. Do you remember the apostrophe blog? The apostrophe here is the scar remaining from when the “a” was brutally ripped from the word “are”.

The easiest way to remember is if you could replace the word you want with “you are”, then then word you want is “you're”.

For a free bonus, the “they're” and “their” question is addressed in exactly the same way.

“They're” is the contraction of “they are”, and if you could use “they are”, then use “they're”. If you want to use a possessive, to show ownership, then use “their”.

“Their last battle with the vampires was fought here, and they're buried over there.”

Seriously, what is this obsession with vampires?

The battle belonged to them, so “their” is correct. You could also write “they are buried over there”, so “they're” is correct.

(“There” is another word entirely, and it deserves its own entry.)
Until next week, keep those grammar candles burning! I leave you with this, via Pam. Thanks, Pam!


  1. I enjoyed this yet again! You should talk about punctuation in dialogue tags and semicolons. Those are things that are so easy to get wrong, and so easy to fix (and writers, editors will love you forever if you get in the habit of punctuating dialogue tags correctly).

  2. Will work that in sometime!
    Thanks for the suggestion, Caitlin.

  3. Your kidding me, right? ( to the writing cave! I love it when you give me spots to pick. It makes my day brighter.)


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