Your Versus You’re – English Grammar Online

When I see discussions about your versus you’re, I imagine a voice coming over a loud-speaker at a sports arena. There are two figures, huddled in opposite corners of a boxing ring.

“Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner, weighing in at four letters, we have the challenger “your.” And in this corner, weighing in at a hefty five letters PLUS an apostrophe, we have another challenger, “you’re.””

Yes, two challengers. We do not have a defending champion, as is the case with most grammatical matches involving words that sound alike but are quite different.

Let us review the English Grammar Online rules of the your versus you’re match, then.


This is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership of something, whether temporary or permanent. It is not a verb form.

Your car
Your name
Your hotel room


This is the contraction form of “you are.” It can be a complete sentence on its own acknowledging your existence. It can be followed by a verb or an adjective. It is not possessive unless someone else is talking to you, as in “You are mine.”

You’re pretty.
You’re running.
You’re going home.

English Grammar Online Championship Exercises

To get a little practice in before the match results are in, try your hand at these. Are they right or wrong?

  • You’re sister wants you to call.
    (Wrong. While you might be a sister, this is supposed to mean that the sister you have, your sister, wants you to call.)
  • Your car needs washing.
    (Right. It is a car you have, so it is your car.)
  • You’re out of money.
    (Right. It describes a condition you have.)
  • Your going home.
    (Wrong. You don’t own a “going home.” It’s something you are doing.)

The You’re Versus You’re English Grammar Online Winner Is…

There is no winner in this English Grammar Online battle. It’s a tie. Both you’re and your are either challengers or champions. Neither is less than the other. They are not interchangeable.

I could quote English grammar rules, but they don’t often help in real-world situations because they remind us (yes, even me) of being in Ms. So-and-so’s English/grammar class getting the rules drilled into you. Instead, think about this:

Be careful when you’re using “you’re” and “your” in your writing. They might sound alike, but they’re not. These two basic tips can help you decide which one is appropriate.

  • If it is something “you” have, such as an object, name, location, or trait, use “your.”
  • If it is a verb form meaning “you are” and using another verb or an adjective to describe someone, use “you’re.”

Can you write a sentence or two using your and you’re correctly? Give it a go in the comments below.

Heart vs. Technique: Closing the Web Writer Gap

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Is the true art in online writing in the heart or in writing technique?

In the last two decades, media has grown, transformed, and been reborn. Journalism emerged, centuries before the Web, as a career built on a solid foundation of higher learning. Students trained in the craft, the technique, the rules of writing for the early paper and newsprint medium. The news was about informing the people and over time journalism developed a sense of detachment.

Sometimes, newspapers and magazines shared story. Anecdotal tales with emotion and heart were included and these too were written with an integrity to the true craft of writing. Most of the world’s news came in concise, just-the-facts, reverse pyramid journalism format.

True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance, As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance. ~Alexander Pope, An Essay on CriticismThat was before the move to online media. Now Joe Blogs journalism has altered the balance of heart and technique in writing. These days, some believe all it takes to engage and inform readers is the ability to string one word to the next. Opening discussion, sharing news, informing readers, and gaining an audience has become open platform with a very low exclusionary threshold. If you have access to a computer and internet connection you can use modern media to communicate, inform, and educate. But does being free to share your own knowledge and experience make you a writer?A writer's mind seems to be situated partly in the solar plexus and partly in the head. ~Ethel Wilson | Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head. ~From the movie Finding Forrester

Is the title of writer open to anyone with a basic literacy skill?

You don’t need an English degree to build a successful freelance writing career. Heart will take you a long way. But to truly excel as a writer one must close the gap between heart and technique.

An equal balance of technique and heart can make all the difference between good content and great content. A compelling post mixes these two vital elements. A reader can be drawn into the story of your post or article with their heart through yours but keeping your reader on the page requires a well-structured use of language.

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke. ~Arthur PolotnikVery few stories riddled with spelling errors, grammar faux pas, and incorrectly formatted sentence or paragraph structure become widely popular. But even these complex technical considerations are just brushing the surface when it comes to really knowing how to write.

When was the last time you learned more about the craft, technique, and rules of quality writing? Do you continue to hone your understanding of the technical aspects involved? Where do you go to learn more as your writing continues to grow up?

There is no royal path to good writing; and such paths as do exist do not lead through neat critical gardens, various as they are, but through the jungles of self, the world, and of craft. ~Jessamyn West, Saturday Review, 21 September 1957

Book Review: Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing

Mignon Fogarty the Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.How much do you really know about language usage? Are you sure you use “they’re“, “there“, and “their” correctly? When is it appropriate to use “whom“, “whome“, or just “who“? Confused about whether to “lay” or “lie“? Grammar Girl has the answers and she gives them in a way that makes it simple to understand.

I can’t think of any book that covers so many language quirks within its pages. To be honest, I found it a little draining to read. I read Grammar Girl’s book, several pages an hour, one tip after another without pause, but it is a book better suited to reflective browsing. In the same way that reading a dictionary will do wonders for your vocabulary but can be exhausting if attempted in a single sitting, Grammar Girls’ Quick and Dirty Tips for Betting Writing will do wonders for your writing but can be overwhelming if rushed. It is the kind of book one needs to savor, allowing each tip to simmer in your mind before sampling the next.

Having failed ninth grade English, and dropped out of school soon after, I never learned the ‘rules’ in a formal setting. I am amazed at what my nine-year-old daughter brings home from school about phonics and usage. She is learning things in grade four that I had never learned before; she teaches me! Twelve years removed from school I’m beginning to understand the difference between nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc. I’m still working on understanding objects, subjects, and participles. I write instinctively, having read extensively, but am beginning to learn WHY a sentence works one way better than another and WHY this word differs depending on tense.

Feeling a little out of my element with grammatical context I found every page was a learning experience. There was so much to absorb in this plethora of information and insight that I had never truly comprehended before. Every tip offers an opportunity to learn about language from regional distinctions to popular adaptations. Not only does Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, share simple tricks to help us remember ‘the rules’, she also explains the grammatical reason, the ‘proof’, that they are, in fact, the grammatically correct.

I found Grammar Girl’s book intense. I am learning so much! I LOVE IT!

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing is a book I know will sit upon my desk for years to come. It is not the kind I might read once then allow to gather dust on the shelf of the formerly loved. Despite it’s cheery cover and warm voice this is definitely a writers reference, and it includes a detailed index to make it even more effective as a reference guide.

If you’re looking for an addition to your desk, particularly a comprehensive guide to modern word usage and grammar, then this is the book you need. I want to give a big shout out, “THANK YOU!” to Michele Tune. I had never heard of Grammar Girl, or her book before Michele shared both on her blog and had I not won my copy of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing it might still be sitting on my Amazon wish list! Thank you, Michele.

Do you have a particular usage stumbling block? Want to know if Mignon Fogarty covers it in Quick and Dirty Tips? Drop a comment below and I’ll look it up for you!

Greetings, Salutations and Wedding Invitation Etiquette

I feel quite honored being able to pop in and share a bit about myself and writing with each of you here.  As the new bird on the block, an introduction seems necessary.

I am Mysti Guymon.  I am a mother to two boys, both high needs.  My time is limited throughout the day and most often I can be found writing the old-school way, early in the morning or far too late at night.  I tend to capitalize “my time” when I should be sleeping.  Maintaining early mornings and late nights can make for some pretty exhausting days, but in the end I’m still able to maintain my passion for writing.

Writing takes many different forms in our lives.  Most recently, I’ve had the grand experience of creating invitations.  Grammar, word selection and placement are important faucets when creating invitations.  Most events in our lives are quite casual.  This event, my wedding, took a much more formal stance.

The basic etiquette of wedding invitations:

  • Utilize the full name of bride and groom.  If space is an issue, omitting the middle name is acceptable.
  • British spelling of favor (favour) and honor (honour) is recommended.
  • Spell out all words including the hour, date and year.  Saint (St.) and Mount (Mt.) are the only two abbreviations accepted.
  • In names containing numerals (third) utilize roman numerals (III).
  • For ceremonies taking place in a house of worship, you will “request the honour of your presence” whereas a garden wedding you will “request the pleasure of your company.”

If you are looking at creating your own invitations for a wedding down the road, a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Are you issuing the invitations as a couple?
  • Are you the parent of the bride issuing invitations?
  • Are you the parent of the groom issuing invitations?
  • Is the wedding of the garden variety?
  • Would the couple be wed in a church?

Each question brings with it a different choice of invitation styles.  The first and increasingly popular scenario, is couples issuing wedding invitations themselves.  In this situation, the Bride and Groom’s full names will print at the top.  All pertinent information will follow in sequence of date, time, place.  The address of the location will always print at the bottom of the invitation.

Should the bride’s parents issue the invitation, it would read:

Mr. and Mrs. (Brides Father’s Name)

Request the honour of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter (Bride’s full name)

and (Groom’s full name)

on (Month, Date, Year)

at (full time)

Location Name

Location Address

Should the groom’s parents issue the invitation, it would read:

(Bride’s full name)

and (Groom’s full name)

request the honour of your presence

at their marriage

on (Month, Date, Year)

at (full time)

Location Name

Location Address

There are many more issues that could arise when creating invitations.  Some circumstances to consider are a widowed parent, divorced and remarried parents, divorced and one remarried parent issuing the invitations.  As we didn’t have to contend with those situations, you might want to check Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette for suggestions.

As always, writing can be fun, invigorating and inspiring.  Somewhere midst the grandeur comes grammar.  Invitations are no different, even for a writer!

Free Write Against the Blank Page

A Guest Post By Kimberlee Ferrell.
Enjoying small town life and her two daughters, Kimberlee Ferrell still carves out time to write. Her blog, Freedom Writing, explores writing, parenting, and anything that flows out of her pen. Stop by to investigate the inner workings of her mind, and to learn more about her copywriting, proofreading, and editing expertise. Strong coffee and walnut brownies will be provided.

The blank page stares me in the face again. I am trying to write this post, but the lack of words on the screen paralyzes me. It causes the greatest writers among us to freeze up, and decide to wash the dishes, walk the dog, or do anything else but stare back at the empty canvas.

As writers, we face this on a daily basis. With each new article, blog post, or short story, we come full circle, to give birth to a new idea, to share our words with others. We turn to a fresh page in our notebooks or turn on our processing program, then stop. The glaring white page is empty, and our minds fill with doubts. “Where should I begin?” “What should I write about?” “Does anyone care about what I have to say?” “Are there really any original ideas?”

These thoughts and doubts can instantly send your muse to a vacation in the Bahamas, without you. There is a way to rekindle your writing: the free write. Many writers have used this technique to work past their writer’s block, and write no matter how they feel. I first discovered this exercise in Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in free writing, or just looking for an excellent read. She illustrates how to free write without expectations, and how to mine your first draft for those golden nuggets of exposition.

There are many ways to free write, and there is no one right way. There are two key techniques that I use when free writing. I set a timer in my head or on my desk, to give myself an immediate deadline. I also never stop writing for any reason. Do not be tempted to fix your spelling or grammar, save it for the editing phase. Choose one of these free writes the next time your fingers refuse to hit the keyboard.

Write the thoughts running through your head. When your inner editor casts doubts on everything from your lack of vocabulary to what you ate for breakfast, get it out on paper. Write whatever is bothering you at this moment. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and just keep writing every random thought that enters your head, whether it is related to writing or not. Let your mind dump its cluttered thoughts onto the page, and then set it aside. Your mind can relax, knowing you have addressed whatever was bothering you. Plus, you have written a few hundred words. Keep the momentum going, and dive into your writing project.

Write anything about your chosen topic. Sometimes you don’t know where to begin. Give yourself permission to dive headfirst into your topic, and write anything about it. Don’t worry about writing a captivating lead, or placing your thoughts into logical order. Cover the length and breadth of your topic, as the ideas come to you. You can always organize it later. This technique unearths new ideas I hadn’t considered before, adding depth to the final draft.

Write down topic ideas. This free write can be written traditionally, or in list form. Brainstorm a list of anything you want to write about. You can write a list of article titles, blog ideas, or conflicts for your main character. Once you have exhausted your list of ideas, go back over each and write a few sentences to flesh out your idea in more detail. This technique generates a lot of new leads over a short period of time.

Write something completely different. When your current project is wholly uninspiring, try writing something in a different topic, genre, or format. For example, if you are having trouble writing another SEO article, write a few pages of your novel instead. Once you’ve given your brain some free time, you can switch back to your project and get to work.

These are just a few of the possible ways you can use free writing to rejuvenate your writing juices. Once you start to write, the words come quick and easy.

The key is to sit down, and just write.

How have you incorporated free writes into your writing life? Do you have any other types of free writes to share? Leave a comment to let everyone know what works for you when you encounter the blank page.