Ask Buck: You're going to have to watch your words

Gene Owens: Buck often sees “your” used in place of “you're” in amateur writing.
BY GENE OWENS Published: September 4, 2012
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After candidate Todd Akin tripped over some words during his race against Claire McCaskill for her U.S. Senate seat from Missouri, he launched a website bearing this message:

“Tell McCaskill that your still standing with Todd Akin.”

Some former pupils of Miss Prunella Pincenez apparently read the message and called him on his grammatical gaffe. So the website put out another message: “Tell McCaskill that your're standing with Todd Akin.”

Miss Prunella's grammar squad pounced once more, and a grammatically correct version at last hit the web: “Tell McCaskill that you're standing with Todd Akin.”

Miss Prunella would decree that “your” is a possessive pronoun and “you're” is a contraction of the pronoun “you” and the verb “are.” And “your're” is not a word.

Buck often sees “your” used in place of “you're” in amateur writing. Maybe it's because the people you hear on television usually pronounce it to rhyme with “pure.” The boys around the greasepit at Curly's Soonerco pronounce “you're” that way, but they pronounce “your” to rhyme with “four.”

The dictionaries approve both pronunciations for both words, but Buck figures writers would find it less confusing if they said “U're my best pal and I'm yore best buddy.” But don't write it that way.

“Which is the legitimate pronunciation?” Clarisse van Beauregard asked.

“Your way is as legitimate as mine,” Buck said.

Send questions for Buck to Gene Owens, 104 Belspring Lane, Anderson, SC 29621, or e-mail him at BucksEnglish@aol.com. Let Buck know what town you're from.


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