Invasion of the killer YOURs

We always knew they had been there, but they fooled us into thinking we had them under control. Now and then they would infiltrate an email from a friend, or peek their hideous visages above the deluge of Farmville crap before sinking back into Facebook status obscurity.

But then, like the first zombies in a B-movie, the killer YOURs insidiously began to proliferate. Opening any innocent-looking webpage could put you at risk of exposure.

'If your looking for something fun to do this weekend...'

It was possible to click away and pretend you hadn't seen it. It was just a mistake. Yes, that was it – someone was typing too quickly. Live and let live! Everyone's an idiot, just on different occasions.

Now, however, it has gone TOO FAR. The killer YOURs are taking over the universe – and I, for one, do not welcome our new stupid overlords. Together with their quiet but powerful sidekick, the killer YOU'RE, they have plunged us into an epidemic from which no one will come out alive.

Everywhere you turn, they are lying in wait:

'Hey, your coming to Julies house on Saturday arent u?'

'Hope your feeling better.'

'This cat video will brighten you're day!!!!1'

'Your a retard.'

These abominations are so prevalent that I even think twice about using your or you're in a message, in case I have unwittingly been infected and find myself writing 'Hehe you don't know what your talking about you moron.'

I don't even consider myself a grammar nazi. I know anyone can make a typo, especially on fast-moving social media sites. I'm not outraged by split infinitives or sentences ending in prepositions, and I find 'could of' instead of 'could have' quite funny in a stupid sort of way. Verb crimes and made-up words are are also entertaining, and I'm increasingly fond of the comma splice.


The sensible, regular readers of Strictly Writing can skip the next bit, but for any idiots who have stumbled upon this post, here is a simple guide.

YOU'RE is short for YOU ARE.
Example: 'You're about as much use as a fireman with a wooden leg.'

YOUR is possessive and refers to something that belongs to someone.
Example: 'Your brain is the size of an amoeba's toenail clipping.'

What the first one is doing, you see, is to replace the letter 'a' with an apostrophe. Who'd have thought anyone would be so clever as to come up with something so amazingly complicated, eh?

Oh, no, wait a minute, it's actually so simple a drunken zombie sea anemone could understand it. And now you do as well, don't you? Good. That's settled then. You can bugger off now.



Photo credit: Stuart Caie


Geraldine Ryan said...

A lovely post, Caroline! I bet you feel heaps better now you've got that off YOUR chest, don't you?

Caroline Green said...

Ha ha, very funny! My favourite mistake ever was a flyer for a local Turkish restaurant that came through the door. On the back it said, 'Come to XXX for an experience you won't forget easily!'

Still makes me hoot, that.

Anonymous said...

I think the only bit you've left out of an otherwise thorough job is the sneaky "your's". I've seen both "Your's truly" and "I'll have one of your's" recently.

Well, I truly don't want theirs, and they're not getting one of mine. Although one should always be cautious when indulging in grammatical critique

Susie Nott-Bower said...

LOL, Caro! Made me smile.
Now (oh, I just KNOW this is going to be something totally obvious and I'm being as stupid as I was in the Spellchecker post, but...)
Caroline, I don't get that Turkish thing?!?

Bernadette said...

There was beautiful poster outside a development near me.It was about six feet by four feet, saying how this lovely new building would be 'an enhancement to you're community'.
Well, the poster certainly wasn't!

Debs Riccio said...

AAAaarrrrgggghhhh! I'm so glad I'm not alone. I am, in fact, as normal and as sane as the next person who enjoys proper pronunciation, spelling and grammar. *Phew*.
I even got majorly irritated DURING ablutions yesterday when I noticed my lovely new bottle of foamy shower stuff had written on it that it would help me "loose myself in it's citrus scent". I nearly threw the damn thing away in disgust but have tempered myself to just turn the blurb to the wall now - and I'm on 4 showers a day just to get shot of it's blight on my sense of correctness!

Keith Havers said...

Unlike Caroline I believe the 'could of' crime should be a hanging offence.
And - just to make Susie feel better -I don't get the Turkish thing either.

penandpaints said...

It's amazing isn't it? Surely if a company has gone to the trouble of designing a lovely leaflet, poster or even shower gel bottle, they would take the time to find some expert to do a quick grammar once over? Then again, maybe they did, which is even more worrying!
They should of been more careful! Haha. ( I know, could of and should of drives me mad!!)

Geraldine Ryan said...

I think the word order of the Turkish flyer suggests that it will be a bad experience.

Debs Riccio said...

When I was mounting some of the children's work at school, I noticed one of the teachers had written the comment at the end: "very good work, XX but you could of included more detail..." I could've screamed - and this WENT ON DISPLAY for everyone to see! *there is no hope*

Caroline Green said...

Yes, they meant to say 'an experience you'll never forget' or something positive but implication was that it was unforgettable in a bad way!

Anonymous said...

The Turkish restaurant example is not of course about grammar, but about idiom. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the construction they used, and it could logically mean what they wanted it to mean. It's just that native English speakers would never express that idea in this way. Although it's amusing, it also goes to show how littered with land-mines is the road to expression in a language that's not one's own. I daren't think how many similar mistakes I make when I try and speak in French!

Ellie Garratt said...

Oh my. Are you glad you got that off 'your' chest LOL

A great post - funny and thoughtful.

Unknown said...

The other invasion over here in the States is the devious "to", as in "She's really pleased, and I am to!" Do you have that in the UK?

Another usage that strikes me after 30 years away from the UK is the use of the standalone possessive to denote somebody's house, as in "can I come over to yours later?" or "we're having the party at mine." Where did this come from? And as for "soz" - well, to use another neologism, *facepalm*. I relish emerging language, but sometimes it's just plain ugly.

Lizzie said...

Very funny post to read first thing on a Monday.

But what about 'sat' instead of 'sitting'? I've even heard a presenter on Today say it ... there really is no hope!

Caroline Rance said...

Thanks all - it's fun to hear about your pet hates.

I also get annoyed with that lose/loose one, and using i.e. instead of e.g. is another. Unfortunately we haven't escaped that too/to mistake in the UK, Jane!

Your mention of sat/sitting, Lizzie, has reminded me that I hate the use of 'lay' instead of 'lie' as well: 'I was laying in bed.' Eggs for breakfast, then!

While looking for a picture to accompany this post, I found this brilliant one. I wasn't sure about the copyright so didn't use it, but thought it was very funny.

Essie Fox said...

Ha - I love it!

Suzie Grogan said...

Great post! You had be doubting myself by the end - I felt I wanted to go back and check everything I had written. I can't beleive how many restaurants put boards outside with that sort of mistake on it. Makes me think the food is awful straight away...

Debs Riccio said...

Another one I've seen recently outside a shop - FRESH LOCAL VEGETABLE'S - wtf?!

Michael LaRocca said...

I go absolutely bat dookie crazy at the sight of these. Cringe, scream, pull out what's left of my hair, want to throw things and use way too many cliches in my comments.

Here in Thailand, the grammar mistakes are a bit different. However, one of the newest businesses is Tony's House of Sausage's, where the list of items for sale includes:


The reason for the quotation marks around the salad remains a mystery, but all those "greengrocer's apostrophes" tell me the place is, in fact, owned and operated by a native English speaker. No Thai could do that.