But I Don’t Think Your Stupid

Just a moment, please; I have to tend to my wounds. A volley of proverbial stones have just been cast upon me by those without sin: “It’s you’re not your, you dumbass.”

Yes, yes it is. My mistake.

I actually do know the difference in meaning between you’re and your, the contraction and the pronoun. Yet this is a mistake that I make not terribly infrequently. And it’s a mistake that causes me know shame, at least under informal circumstances. Hold on, make that “no shame.”*

The reason is simple: homonyms. You’ve heard of homonyms, words that sound the same, and are perhaps even spelled the same, but have entirely different meanings. The key word hear, I mean here, is sound. It’s the basis of my entire defense.

I don’t know about you, but I write by ear. Much like a musician who plays the piano by ear, when I’m writing I hear the sound of words in my head. Then I put down what I hear on paper.

Since hearing is the dominate sense when I’m writing, I’ll sometimes type out soar when I mean sore or there when I mean they're. It’s because they sound the same, similar to how a B flat sounds like a C sharp.

I’m not proud of this, but it happens, especially when I fire something off in an email or a Facebook post.

Now I am a big proponent for proofreading anything that is put out for public consumption, but even then, sometimes my eyes will be deceived by the sounds in my head as I’m re-reading what I wrote.

So this week's advice is to always ask someone to proofread your stuff, especially for the really important things such as cover letters, news releases, and manifestos to overthrow the neighborhood homeowners’ association.

But what I really want to say is, that if while perusing Facebook, you do come across a your that should be a you’re, don’t assume that the writer is illiterate. Those stones really hurt my feelings.

* This was an actual mistake I made during production of a post about this very type mistake. See what I mean?


About this BLOG

I’ve been a professional business writer for over 20 years. It’s what I do best and I’ve learned some things along the way. I’ll share them with you here and you’ll do well. You may still want to hire me to do some writing when you’re busy doing the things that you do best. I’ll be happy to help out.

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