Your or You’re? Why Is This So Difficult?
People who care about grammar are constantly aggravated (and perplexed) by others who can’t correctly choose between your or you’re.
If grammar gaffes involving your or you’re get on your nerves, you’ll probably appreciate this one.
At work the other day, I received an unsolicited sales email. I’m removing any identifying details, but the email contained the following line:
“I truly believe [you] could be increasing you’re [sales] with the right optimization process and maybe just a bit of a makeover.”
Increasing you’re sales.
Of course, this unsolicited salesman meant to say that the changes could increase your sales.
Your is a possessive pronoun referring to something someone owns or possesses.
The home you purchased is your home.
The work you do is your job.
You’re is a contraction — which should be clear because of the ’re at the end — that means “you are.” In contractions, commas always indicate that a letter or multiple letters have been omitted. In this case, the missing letter is an a.
If you get into your car to drive to a destination, you’re going somewhere.
If this grammatical confusion is a pet peeve, you’re probably as irritated by that email as I was.
It’s a simple mistake that people notice.
Whether you’re writing something personal or writing something business-related, it’s an all-too-common mistake that readers will invariably notice.
It will make you look bad among your friends. It’ll make you look bad among strangers, especially on social media, where people are quick to point out other people’s grammatical errors, no matter how minor they may seem to the person who makes them.
But if you’re writing for a business and you want to impress a client, you can be sure that client will notice simple grammar mistakes.
Even if I were the person to make a deal with such a company, I wouldn’t; if this company can’t master something as simple as choosing correctly between your and you’re, how can I expect them to master something as complex as search engine optimization and web coding?