Your and You’re, Its and It’s


Common misuse of these words is well, common.  Sometimes it’s amazing that our educational system is so awful that even those who finished high school can’t distinguish between “your” and “you’re”.  Remember my “tip” from the other day?

“…always, always in your writing use proper English and spelling and grammar.  To do otherwise makes you seem uneducated or ignorant and why, if you can’t write properly, would anyone take your information seriously?”

Now, on to the lesson:

“Your” is possessive: your blog, your computer, your article.  “Your” means that something belongs to you.  Simple.

“You’re” is another one of those pesky contractions, like “they’re”.  “You’re” means “you are”, as in “you are going to the bank” or, in its contraction form, “you’re going to the bank.”

Now, when it comes to possessive usage, most people know to add “apostrophe s” say, for example, to someone’s name: Susie’s book.  Or, for that matter, “someone’s name”.  But “it” is a bit different.

When referring to an inanimate object as “it”, and using “it” as a possessive, as in “the bank changed its interest rate”, do not use that apostrophe!  If you do, it changes the meaning of “its” to “it’s”, which is a contraction of “it is”.  So, you wouldn’t say “the bank changed it is interest rate” because that makes no sense at all.  So skip the apostrophe in anything for which you can substitute “it is”.

Again, “it’s”, with the apostrophe, is a contraction for “it is”.

While we’re on the subject of word usage, here’s another common error: “loose” and “lose”.  I run across this constantly, while editing, in student posts, on Facebook.  “Loose” means “to loosen” as in “I ate so much dinner I had to loosen my belt.”  “Lose” means to misplace something, or get rid of something, or even “not win”.  Such as, “I have to lose this weight, or my belt will never buckle again.”  You can never, ever “loose weight” or “loose your contact lense”.

Be sure to tune in Friday for more word usage or, rather, misusage!


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