Originally Posted by Alcoremortis
But "your" and "you're" mean very different things and shouldn't be used interchangeably since they obscure the meaning of a sentence.
Let me address this to KuroShiro, because (a) I don't want to enrage people even more and (b) I just don't have the history at hand to back up my hypothesis. Maybe he can help.
"you're" is a shortened form of "you are". As far as I know, shortened forms are the
red button for language guardians as they pop up, so I will assume that at some time in the English language history, people have protested their lungs out against people saying "you're" instead of "you are" (= stupid, lazy, incomprehensible, yadda yadda yadda).
For such a shortened form to even reach writing, I would assume a second wave of protest to have occurred. One that hasn't necessarily ebbed out by today (you'd write "you're" on the Internet, but would you do it in rather formal texts?).
Meanwhile, English spoken language has fully wiped out the sound differences between "you're" and "your". This is very widely accepted today, even among the highest educated classes. I would assume that this means the English language works just as well (or comprehensible, logical, formal, complex, right, yadda yadda yadda) without the explicit distinction.
Now I like
the written difference between your and you're. It helps me to interpret a written sentence as someone whose Native language is NOT English. And I do feel the occasional irrational language guardian anger when I see that mistake, as I feel as if my undoubtedly high learning was insulted. But as spoken English got rid of the difference completely, and therewith proves that the necessity for distinction doesn't really exist, the question should be natural whether English writing should reflect this as well.
That said, of course no one who types "your" instead of the correct
"you're" wants to make a stand in that matter. You would of course find these writing "mistakes" primarily in the messages of lower educated classes, those of very young people or in the writings of foreigners; and I see another reason in the Internet's natural tendency to save typing time by developing shortened forms (since time in memorial or at least since normal, non-computer-nerds took their first steps in the net; you may thank Apple, Facebook or the ordinary SMS for establishing dire need for ever-shortened orthography).
And that is why you won't see me wasting letters in here just because coolsome doesn't get it.