Are vs. Our – How to Use Each Correctly

enhancedwriting/ August 15, 2017/ Uncategorized

are versus our

What’s the Difference Between Are and Our?

When pronounced properly, are and our don’t sound the same, but they still sound similar. In casual conservation, however, many speakers blend the pronunciation, so the words sound almost exactly alike.

The similarities between these two words extend only to their pronunciations, and their uses in the English sentence are totally different.

Are is a verb. It is a present tense conjugation of be. It shows that something exists. It also connects a subject with an adjective.

  • You are so beautiful.

Our is a plural possessive adjective showing that we has possession of some object.

  • That’s our school. My brother and I attended there.

Let’s look at the usage of these two words.

Using Are in a Sentence

When to use are: Are is a form of the verb be. Be takes this form in the present tenses after the subjects you, we, and they, which are second and third person pronouns.

It can also act as a copular verb that joins a subject with an adjective or noun complement.

For example,

  • Countless people are excited to go to Cher’s last concert.
  • You are smart and kind.

Are is just one form of be. Other forms include is and am in the present tense, and was and were in the past tense. Are is also common in the present progressive tense.

Using Our in a Sentence

When to use our: Our is a possessive adjective that shows that we has possession of something.

The proper pronunciation of the word is two syllables, like the word hour, but sometimes, in casual speech, it gets reduced to a single syllable like are.

For example,

  • My husband and I have a dog. Our dog knows many tricks.
  • Everyone in this town attended the same school, because our town is so small we all could fit in the same small building. Our school is old but beloved.

Other possessive adjectives include my, his, her, their, and your. Be careful not to confuse these with the possessive pronouns mine, his, hers, theirs, and yours.

Although the meaning is similar for both possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns, the grammatical rules are different.

Remembering Are vs. Our

One way to help you remember the difference between these two words is to use their spelling.

Are ends with the letter e, just like the verb be.

Our begins with ou. Think of the o as representing the word other, and the letter u representing the word you. Our means that you and others have possession of something.

Outside Examples

  • “When it comes to funding and financing, states are looking at all kinds of options,” said Tony Dorsey, spokesman for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. –Houston Chronicle
  • On the other side, anti-fascist demonstrators also gathered in Charlottesville, but they generally aren’t organized like white nationalist factions, said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center. –OC Register
  • “I’ve been working on my body all summer. It’s very important for European players that come from overseas, the first thing we have to do is build our body. –New York Post
  • “It is also important for us to create playing time. We’re seeing that at first base, we’re seeing it at shortstop and we’re going to see it in the outfield to some extent. I think we’ll have a simpler rotation in the infield. This is about seeing what some of our players can do for 2018.” –New York Daily News

Quiz: Our vs. Are

Instructions: Fill in the blank with the correct word, either our or are in the correct form.

  1. The men and women on this team always try their best. We may be losing the game now, but we still have __________ pride. We will finish this game with honor!
  2. Everyone, listen to me! We have accepted harsh working conditions for too long! We must come together and unite to demand better treatment! ________ you with me?
  3. __________ you aware that ___________ daughter has been put in detention for using foul language? I would never teach her that, so it must have been you!
  4. We both like the same music and television shows. ___________ favorite musician is David Bowie and _________ favorite TV show is Game of Thrones.
  5. All I know is that ________ problem as a society is overindulging in entertainment and ignoring the real issues.

See answers below.

Article Summary

Should I use are or our? Depending on the speaker, these words can sound exactly the same or slightly similar. In writing, however, this pronunciation does not matter, and the words can never be interchanged.

  • Are is a form of the verb be.
  • Our is a possessive adjective that shows ownership of something for the subject we.

Don’t let the similar pronunciations of these two words confuse you into using one when you mean to use the other.


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