Your vs. You’re – How to Use Each Correctly

enhancedwriting/ September 2, 2017/ Uncategorized

your versus you re

What is the Difference Between Your and You’re?  

Your and you’re can either be homophones or can be pronounced with slight differences. Despite these similarities, their spellings and meanings are different.

Your is a possessive adjective that shows that you possesses a noun.

  • That’s not my car. That’s your car.

You’re is a contraction of the subject pronoun you and a conjugated form of the verb be.

  • Thank you so much! You’re the best!

Now, let’s go over the specific ways each of these words are used.

Using Your in a Sentence

When to use your: Your is a possessive adjective that shows that you own something, or that you have possession of something.

For example,

  • You are responsible for your own belongings.
  • It is your right as an American to have the liberty of free speech.

There are many expressions and idioms that use possessive adjectives. Below are a few that are specifically common with your:

  • a plague on both your houses: curse both of you
    • My favorite quote from Shakespeare is a plague on both your houses. It’s too bad it sounds so dated now, or I’d use it anytime I was mad at two of my friends at the same time.
  • a penny for your thoughts: What are you thinking about?
    • You look so serious right now, and you’ve been quiet for a long time. A penny for your thoughts?
  • at your service: here to help you with all your needs
    • Welcome to our hotel. My name is Andre, and I’m at your service.
  • as plain as the nose on your face: very obvious
    • Can’t you see it? It’s as plain as the nose on your face! He’s in love with you!

Be careful not to confuse your with yours. Your precedes a noun whereas yours does not.

Using You’re in a Sentence

When to use you’re: You’re is a contraction of the phrase you are.

For example:

  • You’re my best friend!
  • I saw that you’re planning on going to Brad’s party this weekend.

There are also a few idioms and expressions using you’re, some of which are below:

  • you’re joking: Wow / unbelievable!
    • Did you say that Benny and Barry got married? You’re joking! I thought they hated each other!
  • you’re on: I agree and let’s do it
    • Did you challenge me to another game of ping pong? You’re on!
  • you’re welcome: it was my pleasure to help (response to thank you)
    • Did you just thank me for watching your dog while you were on vacation? You’re welcome! I was happy to help.
  • you’re telling me: I know (emphatic)
    • Did you just say that it’s cold outside? You’re telling me! It was so cold I couldn’t even open my car door! It was frozen shut!
  • you’re the man: you’re awesome (usually to a man)
    • Wow! You brought free pizza for all of us? You’re the man!

Remember not to end a clause with you’re; instead use the uncontracted form of you are at the end of a clause.

Remembering Your vs. You’re

The easiest way to remember the difference between your and you’re is to look at the spelling of each word.

Your has no apostrophe, which is similar to the other possessive adjectives: my, their, our, its, his, and her. You might also notice that of the seven possessive adjectives, the majority end in the letter r.

On the other hand, you’re does contain an apostrophe, just like the other contractions of subject pronouns and conjugated forms of the verb be: I’m, they’re, we’re, he’s, she’s, and it’s. Try to remember that the apostrophe in you’re takes the place of the a from are.

Outside Examples

  • It was an offer Jake Suder couldn’t refuse: Nail this 53-yard field goal and your final two years of college are paid for. His coach at Bowling Green State University wasn’t joking. A lot was on the line for the red-shirt Junior kicker. –USA Today
  • Capital Weather Gang’s Angela Fritz explains what could happen to your eyes if you were to watch the Aug. 21 eclipse without special sunglasses and how to spot the ones that work. –Washington Post
  • “Oh man,” Roberts said. “You’re the Mike linebacker out there. When you’re out there, you got to run the show. It’s on you to get that across to the whole defense, make sure everybody lined up right. –Houston Chronicle
  • “Working in the art industry gives us all these tools. You have access to media, access to institutions and, through those, access to communities,” he said. “We started asking ourselves what’s the point of having this level of privilege if you’re not doing something to help us all.” –Denver Post

Quiz: You’re vs. Your

Instructions: Fill in the blank with the correct word, either you’re or your, in the correct form.

  • ______________ right. It was a terrible idea to make an umbrella out of paper.
  • It’s all ____________ fault that we lose the house keys. You were the one who put them in a pocket with a hole in it!
  • I wish I could take credit for the invention, but it was __________ idea.

See answers below.

Article Summary

Should I use your or you’re? Despite the similar, and sometimes identical, pronunciation of these two words, there is no overlap in meaning between them.

  • Your is a possessive adjective that shows something belongs to you.
  • You’re is a contraction of you are.

Be careful not to mix up these two words.

Quiz Answers

  1. You’re
  2. your
  3. your