Why I’m forgiving of incorrect use of ‘your’ and ‘you’re’

People commonly use one’s ability to differentiate between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ and ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ as a judge of one’s character or value. For example it’s not uncommon to see “Must know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re'” as a ‘what I’m looking for’ on a dating profile.

I don’t think knowledge of the difference between the various grammar rules is a particularly good measure of one’s intelligence, because the rules are arbitrary and seem contradictory at times.

For example:

I threw the dog’s ball.

Ok, cool. The apostrophe indicates possession.

The dog gave me its ball.

Oh no! All of a sudden the rules change! No apostrophe here! Why not? The ball belongs to ‘it’ doesn’t it?


Give me your ball.

Again, no apostrophe.

It’s easy to see how someone might think that

Give me you’re ball

Is the correct grammar here, using an apostrophe to indicate possessiveness.


Sure, correct usage of ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ probably is a pretty indicator of a particular kind of intelligence, but I don’t think people should be written off or not valued, purely based on book smarts. For example someone might not have the best spelling, but know their way inside and out of a motor engine, and still contribute that way.

I myself that I often slip the wrong spelling out, especially when live chatting.

More to the point, there are other indicators that are far more important. For example for me, a belief in horoscopes or denying the efficacy of vaccines is far more of a turn off than incorrect spelling.


3 thoughts on “Why I’m forgiving of incorrect use of ‘your’ and ‘you’re’

  1. Hmm, I believe you might be missing the point. Sometimes, and sadly, people refer to their pets, or animals in general, as “it” because, well, who knows why, really. It’s just bad grammar. Anyway, the sentence, “The dog gave me its ball,” is correct for the context they’re using it in. Saying “The dog gave me its’ ball,” makes no grammatical or common sense. If I’m wrong, please let me know.


    1. Oh, also, an apostrophe is not used only for showing possessiveness. It’s used for omitting letters, as in your your vs. you’re example, or gov’t for governement and int’l for international. ‘Your’ is showing ownership, as in your ball, or your bicycle, and you’re is an omitting the ‘a’ for “you are.” 🙂


      1. What I was highlighting here, isn’t the technical correctness of the English form, or when each should be used, but just to show how you can empathise with someone who gets them wrong.


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