Common errors in grammar
My business (and passion!), is writing marketing copy. I think it is interesting to note a few common errors that crop up on a regular basis:
- Your and you’re
- Of and have
I have touched upon a couple of examples in an earlier blog, (I covered the topic of ‘off of’ in my first blog a few weeks ago which you can read here.) I see these common errors frequently, sometimes in official corporate documents!
Your and you’re
Getting these two words mixed up is very common and can be seen every day throughout social media platforms, emails, websites, letters, business literature – everywhere.
There is a very easy way to determine when to use ‘you’re’. If you can say ‘you are’, then you write the shortened version, ‘you’re’. It is as simple as that. If ‘you are’ does not fit with the meaning of your sentence, ‘your’ is the one you should use.
- You are welcome = You’re welcome
- I hope you are well today = I hope you’re well today
- I heard that you are going to see Sue = I heard that you’re going to see Sue
‘Your’ denotes possession, for example:
- Are you taking your books to the charity shop?
- Is your husband coming with us?
- Your home is lovely and welcoming
Of and have
I am fascinated by the way language changes over time, and how colloquial phrases and new words gradually become absorbed into everyday language. However, this does not mean that I applaud the absence of correct grammar.
Along with ‘off of’, there seems to be an increase in exchanging ‘of’ for ‘have’, for example:
- Could of instead of could have – can be shortened to could’ve
- Should of instead of should have – can be shortened to should’ve
- Would of instead of would have – can be shortened to would’ve
I am not sure how this peculiarity began, but I would hazard a guess that it is because the shortened form ‘could’ve’ sounds like ‘could of’ when spoken aloud? This would explain why this common error occurs across all three of these phrases. Firstly, it became common in speech, but over time has been expressed in the written word as well, especially on social media or in texts, where there is less emphasis on the use of correct grammar.