Apart from maybe its/it’s, the most common error I come across today is the incorrect use of your and you’re. (Yore doesn’t get much of a look in but isn’t it a great word?)
Facebook comments and posts, tweets, YouTube comments…these are the main places where your/you’re are incorrectly used. And I think, more than anything else, you’re is falling out of fashion.
Perhaps it has something to do with the abbreviation ur being so popular nowadays. Quite and easy, ur often replaces the often correct (and three times as long) you’re. But when extra letters are employed, it’s often done incorrectly. So let’s take a look at the difference.
Your is possessive: your cat, your dog, your hat, your book, your dad, your mum, your grammar…
You’re is a contraction of you are: you’re going to drop the ball, you’re late again, you’re not who I thought you were, you’re using the correct form of you’re…
If you’re like me (and deeply unhappy whenever you look online), you can’t help but cringe when you see someone has written your instead of you’re. Is it laziness? Is it just a case of over-eagerness to get characters down on the screen? Is it ignorance?
I think it’s probably, to a degree, a combination of all three. But whatever the reason, it has the effect (in the eyes of someone who knows the difference) of making your writing appear either uneducated or sloppy or both.
If you ever get stuck, replace your/you’re with you are and see which makes sense. If it makes sense with you are, then use you’re. If not, use your.
You are grammar is impeccable = your
You are not using the correct pronoun = you are
And whatever you do, remember to proofread your work to make sure the incorrect form hasn’t slipped in.
Rule of Thumb
Your is possessive. Use it when writing about ownership.
You’re is a contraction of you are.