Yours vs. Your’s – How to Use Each Correctly
What’s the Difference Between Yours and Your’s?
Only one of these two spellings is an actual word. Your’s is a common error when trying to spell the correct word your.
Yours is a possessive pronoun. It indicates that the pronoun you has ownership of something.
- Don’t eat that cookie. That one is mine. I left you another one. The smaller one is yours.
Your’s is an incorrect way of spelling yours.
- All these suitcases look alike. How do you know which one is your’s? (incorrect spelling – should be yours)
Let’s practice a few ways you can use yours in your sentences to help you avoid making the same error.
Using Yours in a Sentence
When to use yours: Yours is a possessive pronoun which shows an object owned or possessed by you.
- Why do you always steal my shoes? Yours are right over there!
- Your homemade bread always tastes so much better than mine. Yours is so soft and buttery.
Other possessive pronouns include mine, his, hers, ours, and theirs.
Using Your’s in a Sentence
When to use your’s: Your’s is never correct, so don’t ever use it. People often accidentally add an apostrophe to yours even though it isn’t necessary. When you see this error, you can assume the person meant to write yours.
- Are those your’s? I don’t remember if those are my pencils or not. (incorrect spelling – use yours)
- Those aren’t my coins. They’re Sally’s and your’s. (incorrect spelling – use yours)
When a proper noun becomes possessive, it is necessary to add an apostrophe and an s. For example:
- Jonathan’s shoes are dirty.
- Erica’s pets are well-behaved.
- I saw Johnny’s new bicycle.
Your’s is a result of people applying this general rule to the specific personal pronoun your. The reason your does not require an apostrophe+s is because it is already a possessive word.
Some people get in the habit of adding an apostrophe anytime they need an s. This is a bad habit and will cause many errors. Avoid any temptation to add an apostrophe to yours.
Remembering Yours vs. Your’s
There is one reliable method to help you remember which of the two words is correct. It involves substituting mine for yours. If the sentence still sounds grammatically correct, then you know using a possessive pronoun is correct.
Additionally, because mine and the other possessive pronouns do not include an apostrophe, it will remind you that yours also does not need an apostrophe.
It may also help to remember that apostrophes are for contractions, such as I’m, you’re, and we’re. They are also for nouns that show possession such as the dog’s bone. Because possessive pronouns are neither contractions nor common nouns, they don’t use apostrophes.
- “Which one of these planes is yours?” he asked, gesturing to the pair of Air Force jets on the tarmac of Los Angeles International Airport. –LA Times
- “I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too,” the “Born This Way” singer wrote on her Instagram page on Tuesday. –Reuters
- “Governor, next time you want to sit on a beach that is closed to the entire world but you, you get your fat a– in a car and go to one that is open to all of your constituents, not just you and yours,” the caller said. –New York Daily News
- That Airline Seat You Paid for Isn’t Yours –Wall Street Journal
Quiz: Your’s vs. Yours
Instructions: Fill in the blank with the correct word, either your’s or yours.
- I don’t want or expect anything that is ______________. I’ll work to earn my own stuff. (correct spelling)
- See that huge mess in your room? That’s all _________. Go clean it up. (incorrect spelling)
- Don’t worry. My dog won’t eat food if he thinks it’s _____________. (incorrect spelling)
- Look at your essay compared to his. __________________ is much better written. (correct spelling)
- Do whatever you want. I don’t care. The choice is ____________. (correct spelling)
See answers below.
Should I use yours or your’s? Always use yours and never your’s. Although they look almost exactly alike, the version with the apostrophe is incorrect and will make your writing look unprofessional.
- Yours is a possessive pronoun that can show ownership of something.
- Your’s is a misspelling of yours.
Remember that apostrophes are important to show possession for proper nouns, but incorrect for possessive pronouns.
Answers from Quiz