What’s the difference between your and you’re?
Published on June 20, 2022 / Updated on February 12, 2024
Are you finding knowing the difference between your and you’re tricky? You’re not alone. Even native English speakers often get confused and use the wrong word when they’re writing. And grammar checkers often don’t pick up when you make a mistake with this either. So you really need to learn it by heart! The two words have very different meanings and when you’re writing, the difference is important; it’s a pet peeve of many people when the words your and you’re get mixed up. So, let’s learn how to use your and you’re correctly.
We’ll start with the grammar. Your is a possessive adjective. We use it to say that something belongs to you or the person you are speaking to. You’re is a contraction; it’s two words with an apostrophe in between. You’re is short for you are. The easiest way to tell the difference and to know which word you need to write is to try the sentence with you are instead. If it works, use you’re. That’s the grammar part but what about the pronunciation? Your and you’re are homophones, which means that they sound the same, so when you’re speaking, you can’t hear any difference between the two.
We just said that your is a possessive adjective. You probably know that adjectives in English describe nouns so you’ll most often see the word your with a noun. Here are some examples of when to use it.
We use your when the noun belongs to a person you’re talking to:
You can also use your to talk about people’s relatives or friends (and pets!):
And, you can use it to talk about people’s body parts:
Not sure if you’re using this right? Try putting you are into any of these sentences: This is you are pen. Does that sound right? Definitely not!
Now the contraction, you’re. We use contractions in informal writing and very often when we’re speaking; using contractions is a way to make your speech sound more natural. You’re is often followed by the present participle (-ing form) of a verb in the present continuous tense. Here are some examples of you’re in sentences:
It’s really important to nail the difference between your and you’re early on in your English grammar journey because you’ll use these basic words all the time. The key: your is a possessive adjective, just like my or his, and you’re is a contraction of you are. Remember, when you’re not sure whether to use your or you’re, you can try putting you are into the sentence:
You are arm is bleeding – this sentence doesn’t make sense.
You are such a kind person – yes, this sentence is good, so you’re works here.