Style lesson #1: Contractions


No, I am not talking about birth pains here. I am referring to a word or a phrase “formed by omitting or combining some of the sounds of a longer phrase” (thanks, Dictionary.com).

One of the biggest mistakes writers (and bloggers aren’t spared of this either) make is interchanging you’re and your. It’s unforgivable because contractions are one of the earliest lessons we learn in grade school.

Writing is a marriage of form and substance. You may have interesting content, but if it’s not readableif it’s peppered with misspelled words, misplaced punctuation, and bad grammaryou lose credibility and authority.

Yes, people, there is a difference between your and you’re, and it’s not just the spelling. Let me illustrate:

Your is the possessive case of the pronoun you. It indicates ownership of something, or that a certain object belongs to you.

Your dress looks lovely.

Your dreams will come true.

Meanwhile, you’re is a shortened version of the phrase you are.

You are the worst liar ever.

You’re the worst liar ever.

She thinks you are trying to pick her up.

She thinks you’re trying to pick her up.

A tip: your always comes before a noun (which refers to a person, place, object, or action).

Your hair

Your happiness

Your loyalty

Your boyfriend

Your house

Your attitude

I hope that was clear enough. Your writing will certainly improve if you’re more conscious of rules on style. On Thursday: it’s vs. its, and they’re vs. their.

Enjoy writing!

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About Karla

I am an e-mail marketer, editor, and writer. My passions are yoga, food, and Filipino arts and culture.

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  1. Style lesson #2: More Contractions « Write Sense - June 10, 2007

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