Every year Oxford English Dictionary adds new words, and this year one particular word has grammar fanatics abuzz.
“Your not going to believe this.” There’s no doubt you’ve seen misuse of homophones on social media and in texts, but now that misuse may just be proper.
In December, as part of its annual update, the Oxford English Dictionary has officially added a definition of “your” to include “a contraction of you are. Since this definition change, the latest update of iOS 10.2 last month included a change to auto correct when the word “you’re” is typed, it is automatically changed to “your“. This is no doubt why usage in this way has increased drastically in the last month.
“We needed to properly update how the word is pronounced,” OED Chief Editor Michael Proffitt says. “Your sounds like pour. You’re should rhyme with pure. So we’ve eliminated the old entry, and combined this entry.”
Grammar fanatics, or nazis as they’re referred to online, have been having a field day with this definition. “It’s wrong. It’s just wrong,” the Grammarly blog writes. “Don’t succumb to this hijacking of the English language, we must all band together and use ‘you’re‘ properly.”
It’s not the first time the dictionary has added a definition that grammar snobs found objectionable. In 1909, the word “literally” was amended to literally mean its own antonym. And over a century later, many still cannot grasp this definition.
It’s unlikely that the now improper “you’re” will be going away any time soon, though its proper usage has been the minority for years, those that hold to it will not go down without a fight.