Do you feel like a yutz when you have to decide between using your or you’re?
You’re not alone.
There’s a good reason why we struggle with when to use you’re. This word violates all our expectations.
Normally an apostrophe is used to show that someone possesses something, as in “Sue’s yo-yo.”
But if you want to write “your yo-yo,” you need to use the word your without an apostrophe.
You’re with an apostrophe is only used when “you are” is being contracted into one word.
The same rule applies to their / they’re and its / it’s. If you’d like more on these words, you may want to check out my grammar story Night of the Apostrophe Ninja.
To demonstrate this apostrophe rule, here’s a very short story.
Your vs. You’re – Who Will Win the Lady’s Heart?
In days of yore, two knights stood before the Queen, yammering about their quest to slay the yellow yeti.
“Your Majesty,” said the older knight, “I regret to report that we were unable to fulfill your desire. The beast is still alive.”
“What beast?” asked the Queen, bewildered.
“We?” protested the younger knight. “You’re the one who decided it was a good idea to wake the yeti up by challenging it, instead of sneaking up and chopping off its head.”
The Queen flinched. Then her cheeks blossomed in anger. “How dare you-”
“Look how you have offended Her Majesty by your violation of the Knight’s Code of Conduct!” remonstrated the older knight. “You have constantly demonstrated your ignorance of our traditions.” He turned to the Queen, who was clearly in a rage. “Your Majesty, I protest. Your young ‘champion’ is hotheaded and will not listen to reason.”
“Listen to reason? You’re the one who never listens! You’re too busy living in the past, and now we’re stuck with that yeti.”
“You’re the ones who are not listening,” yelled the Queen. “How dare you interrupt me!”
The two knights were immediately silent.
“We gave no command to attack the yellow yeti. Clearly you have been blinded by your pride. We hereby strip you of your titles until you’re willing to act like the knights you should be.”
The former knights slunk away, shamefaced.
After they had left the chamber, the Queen’s form shimmered, and in her place was a yellow yeti.
“Well, that was close,” said the yeti. “Good thing my knights are a bunch of incompetent yahoos, or I would never have heard the end of it from my sisters.”
I can’t believe I’m coming up to the last A to Z post! Stay tuned for the final episode tomorrow, where I will zap the zombified letter Z…
© Sue Archer and Doorway Between Worlds, 2015