This is a first

by Eszter Hargittai on January 7, 2009

I don’t like seeing you’re when your should be used and vice versa, but the following took it all to a whole new level: in a recent email I received, instead of your, the person wrote u’re. Yikes.



Jacob 01.07.09 at 6:06 am

Yeah, everyone knows that the correct form is “ur”


Righteous Bubba 01.07.09 at 6:12 am



D Jagannathan 01.07.09 at 7:35 am

im in u’re emailz corrupting u’re pronouns


Zamfir 01.07.09 at 8:17 am

pronowns? pronpwns?


Chris Waigl 01.07.09 at 9:12 am

Makes sense to me, tough I agree with Jacob on “ur”. Traditional would, of course, be “yr”: to each time their own abbreviations.


Ginger Yellow 01.07.09 at 11:34 am

Could be a correction error. The sender originally typed “you’re”, tried to delete it, but ended up just deleting “yo”. Or not.


Eszter Hargittai 01.07.09 at 2:40 pm

Makes sense to me, tough I agree with Jacob on “ur”.

I thought “ur” was mainly an abbreviation for “your”. That would have made sense since the meaning requires “your”. The abbreviation in this message doesn’t make sense, since it’s grammatically incorrect plus it’s not shorter than the number of characters in what should have been written (“u’re” is four as is “your”, but the former requires a shift key as well so it’s less convenient).

I wouldn’t have been too surprised by and certainly wouldn’t have commented on “ur” (although I’m used to it more in text messages than email messages) since that’s common for “your”. The point here is that they’re using the wrong term and butchering it.

Could be a correction error.

Not based on the rest of the email…


Deborah 01.07.09 at 4:11 pm

Ah-ha. IM-speak strikes again. I had a boss once who wrote “could of” for “could have”. It drove me up the wall and down the other side.


Eszter Hargittai 01.07.09 at 5:37 pm

Deborah, I don’t see how that’s IM speak vs a complete misunderstanding of the grammar involved. “could’ve” is not any more characters than “could of” so the latter is not being used to shorten anything, it’s being used, because the person doesn’t realize that what sounds like “could of” is actually a shortening of “could have”.


Michael Bérubé 01.07.09 at 7:37 pm

English usage.

U’re doin it wrong.


Neue Internetpräsenz 01.07.09 at 7:56 pm

Maybe the writer was referring to the Klingon distant cousin of Ultravox singer Midge Ure.


noen 01.07.09 at 8:43 pm

IM speak? This kind of abbreviation goes back to IRC and before. “UR” is meant to be pronounced by enunciating each letter sound. Literally “yoo aar”. I used to go on IRC (efnet) to chat with some gal friends of mine and we could all touch type at a decent speed. It felt like just… talking. When the guys came in channel it slooooowed things waaay dooown. They were mostly one finger, hunt and peck typists and I’m sure they must have felt frustrated. We’d go on for paragraphs and they’d chime in “How r u?”

IRC is why my nym is “noen” and not my real name. On the IRC any female nick got bombarded instantly with DCC’s of the guy’s penis. This was apparently their idea of foreplay. Changing my nick to something androgynous and learning to block the HNG’s (horny net geeks) out solved that.


LFC 01.08.09 at 3:26 am

“I don’t like seeing you’re when your should be used…”
Agreed. I also don’t like the apparently growing inability to match subjects and verbs. Example: A recent Wash. Post Style section front page story (about the Obama daughters’ first day of school) said (as best I recall) that the “recommencement of classes usually don’t [sic] warrant breaking updates….” This is ungrammatical, of course (“recommencement” is the subject, not “classes”), but it also sounds wrong. I wish this were an isolated case. It isn’t.


HH 01.08.09 at 9:29 pm


Is there any subject too slight or any passing notion too worthless for you to commit to a CT thread? How do you feel about hangnails? Don’t you hate it when the plastic bag in the produce section doesn’t open readily? How about those annoying Spam phone calls?

The people who come to this blog in the belief that fine minds are engaging topics of substance are not starved for news of trivial annoyances. We do not seek twittering revelations of commonplaces and towering monuments to the obvious.




Watson Aname 01.08.09 at 9:49 pm

You can get your subscription price back, HH. But not the 9 lines (in response to 2 in the post).


LFC 01.09.09 at 4:45 am

There are millions of blogs, and a good percentage of them address “topics of substance,” at least some of the time. No one is forcing you to read this one.


joji 01.09.09 at 7:33 am

yes. it is quite annoying. this “you’re” and “your” business. In my country, there is “its” and “it’s” and some people cite text messaging to hide ignorance of grammar rules. Yes, including “cud’ve”! Hah!

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