Your versus You’re
When should you used your and you’re? Your and you’re may sound exactly the same when you say them, but they are two completely different words with different spellings and are used as different parts of speech.
Your is a possessive pronoun that is used as an adjective to modify whatever noun comes directly after it in the sentence. You’re is contraction of you are so, in a sentence, it is the subject and verb combined.
- Your is a possessive pronoun used as an adjective showing ownership by you.
- You’re is a contraction of you are.
Let’s take a closer look at these two words.
When to Use Your in a Sentence
Your Meaning: Your is used to indicate ownership. It is the possessive form of the word you, and shows ownership of the noun that directly follows it. Your is both a pronoun and an adjective.
Your functions as a pronoun by taking the place of a noun in the sentence, and it functions as an adjective by providing additional information about the noun that it modifies
Example: “Focus on figuring out what happened to your home.” [adjective] Source: New York Times
Example: “Your meals will have less fat and fewer calories than traditional fried foods.” [adjective] Source: USA Today
Example: “Your boyfriend is at the door.” [adjective]
Since your is a possessive adjective, it will be immediately followed by the noun that it is modifying. See from our examples above, your home, your meals, your boyfriend. All three examples have a noun following the possessive adjective your.
When to Use You’re in a Sentence
You’re Meaning: You’re is a contraction that takes the place of you are. Contractions are two words, typically a pronoun and a verb, that are merged together and shortened by omitting one or more letters and replacing them with an apostrophe. The meaning remains the same—you are.
Example: “You’re selective about your living space.” [possessive pronoun subject and verb] Source: USA Today
Example: “You’re always happier when you have the freedom to make your own decisions.” [possessive pronoun subject and verb]
Example: “Be careful about removing a child from a situation because of the message you’re giving a child.” [possessive pronoun subject and verb] Source: Wall Street Journal
Contractions are great ways to make your writing sound casual or conversational, but be careful in using them in professional or academic writing. Usually, in both of professional and academic settings, contractions are avoided altogether.
Your or You’re? How to Know Which One to Use
Because your and you’re sound the same, it is easy to confuse them. Fortunately, it is just as easy to correct your mistake and know which word to use. Here are some helpful tips.
If you want to show that something belongs to the you in your sentence, then you need your.
If the word directly following your is a noun, you will need your.
Try taking you’re apart and put it into its original form of you are. Then put it back into your sentence and read it aloud. Does it make sense to your ears or does it sound off? If it sounds correct, you can use you’re. If it sounds wrong or funny, you need your.
Here are some examples:
- You’re/Your going to love the new restaurant.
- You are going to love the new restaurant. (we replace you’re with you are and the sentence still makes sense so we know we can use you’re in this case.)
- You’re going to love the new restaurant. (correct)
- After the restaurant, let’s go back to you’re/your house.
- After the restaurant, let’s go back to you are house. (we replace you’re with you are and the sentence does not make sense so we know we cannot use you’re in this case. We need to use your.)
- After the restaurant, let’s go back to your house. (correct)
Let’s look at these two examples again, this time noting the type of words that immediately follow your and you’re.
- You’re going to love the new restaurant. (the word following you’re is a verb—going. The full verb phrase in this sentence is “are going to love”.)
- After the restaurant, let’s go back to your house. (the word following your is a noun—house. The possessive pronoun adjective your tells us additional information about the house, specifically that it belongs to you.)
Test Your Knowledge:
Now it is your turn. Remember to apply to the above tricks to help you to know whether to use your or you’re.
- I need to return __________ jacket.
- Text me when ___________home.
- _________ the best!
- ___________ attitude says a lot about the job.
Answers shown below
Recap: When to Use Your or You’re
Even though your and you’re sound the same, they are not interchangeable. They have different definitions, different spelling, and different parts of speech. Just remember:
- Your shows ownership of the noun that comes immediately after it.
- You’re is a contraction of you are and can be used interchangeably with you are