Last Thursday, I asked if y'all would be interested in reading a series of posts about English grammar. (If you missed that post, you can click here to read it.) Lots of people said "yes," so here we go!
Before we delve into today's topic, though, I want to make a point that's very important to me. I'm a grammar nerd, and I love to read things that are well-written. But the goal of blogging is most certainly NOT perfect grammar. Perhaps a paper that will be graded by an English professor needs to boast grammatical perfection, but blog posts do not. My hope with these lessons is to answer questions and to help people feel a bit more confident about their use of the English language. I think it would be awful if we all started worrying about whether our posts were grammatically perfect. But maybe we can all benefit from a little attention to using our language well.
All right, then, on to today's lesson!
Last week we talked about the use of the words its and it's. Remember: the word it's means "it is." And we never, ever use an apostrophe to form the possessive of a personal pronoun. As I said last week, people get confused about this because we DO use apostrophes to form the possessive of nouns. To form the possessive of a singular noun, we add an apostrophe + s. But pronouns are different. The rule for pronouns is to form their possessives simply by adding the s without the apostrophe.
Here's a review question for you. Is the following sentence correct?
I like to have a place for everything and everything in it's place.
Answer: NO! We don't want to have "everything in it is place." The word we need is its. The possessive form of it is its.
Today's lesson is similar to last week's. Question: What's the proper use of the words your and you're?
Just like the word it, the word you is a pronoun (a word that takes the place of a noun). Once again, the rule: Never use an apostrophe to form the possessive of a pronoun. So the possessive form of the pronoun you is your.
- I really like your haircut!
- Your house is decorated beautifully.
- Could you move your car?
The word you're is a contraction of the words you are. The apostrophe replaces the omitted letter "a." So use the word you're when you mean "you are."
- I hope you're coming to the party.
- You're doing a great job.
- We think you're a great hostess.
I hope this is helpful. Now, I need your help. Please leave me a comment with any questions you'd like me answer or points of grammar you'd like for me to explain. . . or even pet peeves you'd like for me to expose! I'd like for these little lessons to address issues that would be useful to you. So please let me know. And if you have a particular question you'd like for me to answer, feel free to email me (richellap (at) gmail (dot) com). I'd be happy to help if I can!