How do you form the second person possessive? For instance, if someone drops a belonging in a crowded area, you might pick it up and ask him or her,
- Is this yours?
- Is this your’s?
Now, you need to ask yourself, which of the above spellings is correct, yours or your’s? This isn’t much of an issue in speech because both would sound the same when spoken, but one spelling is correct and one is definitely wrong.
What is the Difference Between Yours and Your’s?
If you don’t know which of these spellings is correct, don’t worry. I’ll cover everything you need to know about yours vs. your’s in this post.
The short answer is that yours is always and unequivocally the correct choice. You should never use your’s in your sentences.
I’ll explain in more detail below.
When to Use Yours
What does yours mean? Yours is a second person possessive pronoun and is used to refer to a thing or things belonging to or associated with the person or people that the speaker is addressing.
- You can stay here or come with us; the choice is yours.
- The future of television (according to Apple) can be yours starting Friday when a revamped Apple TV begins hitting stores. –USA Today
- Assuming that yours is a family where facts matter, The Fix is on the case. We checked in with three political historians to see what brainy insights they could share. –The Washington Post
When you are indicating possession, yours is the correct choice—not your’s. You do not need an apostrophe to indicate possession because yours itself is a possessive pronoun.
In this sense, yours is similar to other possessive pronouns like its, whose, and ours. None of these words require an apostrophe since they are already possessive.
When to Use Your’s
Your’s is an incorrect formation of the second person possessive pronoun. There is no reason to use it in your sentences.
Why is There Confusion: Yours vs. Your’s?
As I have mentioned in other posts, the concept of a possessive pronoun can be confusing for an English learner.
To make most words possessive in English, you add an apostrophe.
- The boy’s pencil.
- The girl’s dress.
Wouldn’t it, therefore, make sense to add an ‘s to your to make is possessive? Not exactly.
Pronouns have their own possessive forms, as I mentioned above: its, ours, whose, etc. These help the reader understand you more clearly because if you added an ‘s to its, it is not clear whether you mean its as a possessive or it’s as a contraction.
The separate forms solve this problem.
Trick to Remember the Difference
Here’s an easy trick to remember your’s vs. yours.
The first and easiest trick to keep track of these words is to completely eliminate your’s from your vocabulary. There is no use for this spelling, and it serves no purpose—other than to confuse people.
If, for whatever reason, you do find yourself torn between your’s and yours, just spell out your’s as if it were a contraction.
- Is this suitcase yours?
- Is this suitcase your’s?
- Is this suitcase your is?
As you can clearly see, your’s makes no sense in this sentence. Yours is the correct choice and is always the correct choice.
Is it your’s or yours? The answer to this question is black and white.
Yours is correct.
Your’s is an incorrect formation and, therefore, can be eliminated from your vocabulary.