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“Your” vs. “You’re”: Definitions and Examples

Updated on May 26, 2023Grammar

One of the most common mistakes when writing is misusing your and you’re. As with other homophones, your and you’re sound the same but have different meanings and spellings.

The word you’re is a contraction of you and are, while your is a possessive adjective. If you’re ever in doubt about which word is grammatically correct, replace the word in question with you are. If everything still makes sense, you’ve got it right.

One reason these two words get confused is the apostrophe in you’re. Typically, apostrophes indicate possession; for example, My mom’s dog. However, in a contraction, an apostrophe replaces one or more missing letters; for instance, the a in are is omitted when you and are form you’re.

In this article, we’ll look at the differences between your and you’re, including when to use them, and provide illustrative examples.

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Your and you’re definitions

Your is the possessive form of the pronoun you and indicates ownership. It is most often used as a second-person possessive adjective, meaning it’s usually followed by a noun that belongs to or is associated with you. Here’s an example:

Washing the dishes is your responsibility.

You’re is a contraction that condenses the pronoun you and the verb are into one word. It is used to express a state of being or to describe someone.

You’re doing a great job washing the dishes.

By understanding that these words mean different things, you’ll be able to differentiate between the two. Remember: The trick is to insert you are in place of the word in question. If the sentence still makes sense, you’re good to go.

When to use your

Your is a possessive adjective, which is used to indicate ownership. It is also used to express a relationship between the person being referred to and something that belongs to them.

Here are some instances when using your is correct:

Possession: Use your to show that something belongs to the person you are addressing.

Is this your phone?

Relationships: Use your to denote a relationship between the person you are addressing and someone or something else.

She met your sister yesterday.

Descriptions: Use your to describe something that is closely associated with or characteristic of the person you are addressing.

We think your sense of humor is outrageous.

In general, your demonstrates possession, which makes it all the more crucial to use the word correctly to convey ownership and avoid confusion.

When to use you’re

You’re can express a state of being or describe someone. Here are some examples when using you’re is correct:

Describing someone: Use you’re to state a characteristic or attribute of a person being addressed. (Notice that your is used to describe something associated with a person, while you’re is used to describe a person.)

You’re always on time.

State of being: Use you’re to indicate a particular state or condition of the person you are addressing.

You’re being really helpful today.

Verbal contraction: Use you’re as a shortened form of you are to make your speech or writing simpler and more conversational.

I know you’re going to love this movie.

In these cases, you’re is used to convey a quality, attribute, or state of being related to the person you are speaking to or who will receive your writing.

8 your and you’re examples

  • Are these your car keys?
  • It’s important that you talk about your feelings.
  • Your outfit today is on trend.
  • Have you decided where you’re going this summer?
  • Please let me know when you’re back at your desk.
  • I can tell by your smile that you’re happy about the news.
  • Your assignment is to write about something you’re proud of.
  • Felix mentioned you’re buying a house. What’s your new address?

Your and you’re FAQs

What’s the difference between your and you’re?

Your is the possessive form of the pronoun you; you’re is a contraction of the words you and are.

Why are they easy to confuse?

Your and you’re are commonly mixed up because they sound the same when spoken aloud, though they have different spellings and meanings.

When should you use your vs. you’re?

Your should be used to indicate possession or ownership, while you’re always indicates the contraction of you are. If you’re struggling, you can swap out the word in question with you are to see if your sentence still makes sense.

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