Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lesson in Grammar #2

Today's lesson comes from a typical response one would hear during the holiday season. After a few days of giving and receiving presents and the thank yous it would produce, the giver of a gift usually replies "You are very welcome" or some other variant. This phrase is often shortened in the common vernacular, and the difference is subtle.

But in an age of increasing technological interaction, including email, text messages, and internet forums, phrases are seen more often in written form. And unfortunately, people do not understand the concepts of ownership words versus contractions of words. And so I come to the point of Lesson #2.

"You're welcome" is a contraction of "You are welcome" and is a response given to someone who had just verbalized gratitude. "Your welcome" denotes ownership of a welcome or introduction.

It's obvious that people intend the first meaning of "You are welcome" most of the time. But that shouldn't excuse them from lazy writing. The masses are becoming increasingly casual in their speech and writing. This becomes a problem if carried over into the professional world, especially when dealing with international businesses. Cultures that use English as a second language learn its grammatical basics. So when our culture degenerates the language--although still understood by people within our culture--it could affect cross-cultural communication.

So please try to spellcheck your emails, papers, projects or anything you are writing to protect the vitality of the English language.

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