LADIES and gentlemen, it is with deep regret that I report the passing away of an important part of English life.

The word “your” is now officially replacing “you’re” as the short form of “you are” as well as the word indicating possession of something you own.

This terminal decline is now not expected to be halted. Sadly, it is an infectious condition.

To many people, just chucking out the apostrophe - or chucking it in when you feel like it – really doesn’t matter in life. Grammar rules are, apparently, made to be broken and punctuation is just another word that sends you off to sleep.

Sorry, but there are actually still many of us who don’t feel like that.

Grammar and punctuation help keep our glorious English language alive. They are the nuts and bolts of construction of a language that first came to Britain in the mid 5th to 7th centuries with Anglo-Saxon settlers and has evolved into a major world influence.

Its beauty has made grown men weep. Now, it is making people like me, who are probably pedantic about grammar and punctuation, blub all over again. Well, you can’t really blame us.

The word “your” has been transported from a useful text short-form to every possible area of life. It’s on shop signs (“Your Always Given The Best Service Here”) to official bank forms (“Your Applying For A Select Account”).

It is just part of a dumbing down of the English language that happens when we get lazy and cannot be bothered understanding, among other things, the apostrophe.

This is the much-maligned element, meant to indicate a missing letter (like the rogue “you’re”) or possession (as in “Brittany’s bag) but is now running wild in life around us.

Public signs and shop and van signage offer plenty of examples of owners’ and sign-writers’ lack of appreciation of the apostrophe. “Fish Not Just For Friday’s” (Friday’s what?), “Pansy’s ready” (is she?), “No Dog’s Allowed” (what part of them isn’t permitted?) and “Food and Drink’s”. You get the picture.

“But why is it important?”, I hear you cry between yawns.

Randomly jettisoning words or letters we really cannot be bothered uttering or writing down is the start of a decline that takes us back to communicating in grunts. Actually, that may have already happened to some teens I know.

Grammar and punctuation indicate how the English language has grown, become more sophisticated and fit for purpose. Lose part of it and you change meaning and, apologies for sounding ancient, beauty.

One example of the former, as a friend pointed out on Facebook, is “My neighbour loves cooking children and dogs but hates commas.”

Reading underpins intelligent society, helps us to develop and communicate effectively. Nobbling bits of language eats away at its vital structure and needs action.

I urge you to help me in trying to rescue these important parts of it. Feel free to protest and write to your MP. Your (not you’re) language needs you now!