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Your Turn Not, if You're Not Willing

Because those two words sound alike, your and you're (not to mention the evocative but seldom-seen noun yore), it is easy for children learning to write and new speakers of the English language to get them confused. Mature writers, of course, would never be confused about which is which. Would you?

The apostrophe in you're indicates a contraction—the omission of a letter or letters from two words at their sudden but not fatal accretion. Sure enough, the two words you and are, with the discarding of the initial a and the intervening space, grown together into the common contraction you're.

Common contraction is probably a redundant phrase, as contractions are by definition the convenient elisionAn act of omission, whether that omitted be letters or transgressions of, in this case, but one letter so that words spoken often together may be enunciated and understood more rapidly (as the pace of life ever quickens).

Quite the different case is our other subject word, your, the possessive pronounBeing a noun avatar (pronoun) that has (possesses) something meaning that you have something (so you can't say you never had anything).

Here's a cheap way to illustrate this, from a tee-shirt, which reads, Your Retarded. That thar, kids, is what they call a double entendre. However, one cannot say with certainty that the joke is always on whom it was meant to be. (Unless one looks at it fatalistically, of course.)

Which brings up the question: Is there such a thing as a single entendreFrench meaning is "to hear", so I guess there must be?

More Unsavory Word Mixtures

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