Your and You’re

So, what drives you crazy? Me? When I see one of the above pronouns/contractions misused in a published work, I go bonkers.

Why? I think it’s because it shows carelessness and a lack of respect for the reader. Before I retired, I had a list I called “the givens” on an anchor chart in my high school classroom. These “givens” were “no excuse” words. If I saw one of them in a piece of writing I was grading, I would stop reading. The writer needed to fix the “given” or I simply would not read it.

Now, I am a marshmallow, always have been, always will be. If a student said the dog ate his homework, I believed him. However, on this matter I was rigid. If we allow students to keep making the same errors over and over again, and we keep “correcting” these errors for them, who is doing the learning?

Middle school girls love writing the pronoun “I” as lower case with a little heart drawn as the dot. We shouldn’t let them! Kindergarten students are supposed to be able to write the pronoun “I” as a capital letter. By seventh grade everyone should be doing so.

What would be on your “givens” list?

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9 thoughts on “Your and You’re

  1. I am with you about your givens. I am a 5th grade writing teacher and am in the midst of looking over 55 students writing. Lots of grumbling as I read over them. Last night I was getting furious over the i and not capitalizing proper nouns including their own name!

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  2. What drives me nuts is when companies deliberately misspell their names (Kwik Kopy). (Well, I HOPE it’s deliberate!) I’m still fighting the good fight with uppercase I in first grade!

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  3. I’m trying something I read about on Alison Marchetti’s blog. The kids and I created a spreadsheet of short videos on these issues to turn to when you’re not sure what the rule is. I’ll let you know how it works in the long run.

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  4. Yes, and we can add to this list the to-two-too and the their-there-they’re. Homophones are so tricky. Of course, it’s important to talk about “no excuses” when our students write, or they will make these same errors over and over again. Then we have to hold true to the consequence – in order to have a conference, the paper must be carefully edited for the “no excuses” – and when students understand that their papers will not be read, they may become better editors.

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  5. I am not sure we are giving kids time to truly “own” the givens. We are in such a rush and always “lifting the quality” of writing. We suggest some units should focus on the givens. Students can write on any topic and in any familiar structure — the focus will be on writing the “givens” with automaticity on the first draft. I think they need to take the time to draft with the “givens” rather than always try to catch them in the editing phase. The givens need to be valued equally with topic and craft.
    Clare

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  6. Clare, thank you. Food for thought. I guess I was thinking of my high school students here. After students have had 10 or so years of the same old lessons, I grew weary of being the 11th. This procedure of mine was the result.

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  7. I teach 4th grade and my bottom line is capitals and end punctuation. You would think by 4th grade they would have that down, but many don’t, or maybe they’re just careless. I will stop reading and return it with a note to add punctuation and capitals. Just as you said, I realized that every time I added the missing period, the only one practicing the skill was me!

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  8. I hear you! Your & you’re are on my list along with there, their, and they’re. What drives me bonkers is “text” talk in a writing piece! Constant, gentle reminders I give again and again!

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