English has a lot of genuinely confusing words amongst its ranks, but the two words your vs. you’re are not a part of them. The difference between these two words is relatively straightforward, yet they are commonly mixed up with one another, especially on the Internet.
What is the Difference Between Your and You’re
In today’s post, I want to highlight the differences between these two words, show you how to use them with example sentences, and give you a few tips to keep track of them for your future writings. After reading this post, you shouldn’t ever mix these two words up again, thereby sparing yourself the embarrassment of having someone else spot this mistake in your work.
Let’s get started.
When to Use Your
Your is the possessive form of you. It is a second-person possessive adjective used as a modifier before a noun. For example,
- Are these your glasses?
- How do I get to your house?
- Your wedding was beautiful.
Since your is an adjective, we can typically expect a noun or pronoun to follow it in our sentence. Consider our three examples above. All three have nouns following your. And since your is possessive, it shows who the following noun belongs to: you. Your glasses, your house, and your wedding.
Your functions just like other possessive adjectives in this regard, adjectives like my, his, her, its, our, and, their.
When to Use You’re
The word you’re is actually a contraction of two separate words, and the apostrophe in the middle of the word indicates this to us. When you see words with an apostrophe like this, you can be sure that it is a contraction; the apostrophe stands for a missing letter (or letters) in the word.
You’re actually stands for the words You are.
Other contractions are,
- Won’t=Will not
- Don’t=Do not
- Haven’t=Have not
So, we must keep this in mind when we are writing our sentences. If the two separate words you are do not fit, we cannot use the contraction you’re. For example,
- You’re car is running. WRONG
- You are car is running. WRONG
This sentence does not make sense using the contraction you’re when we split the word apart, so we know that it must be the possessive, one-word your.
- You’re hogging all the blankets.
- You are hogging all the blankets.
This sentence makes perfect sense when we split apart the contraction, so we know that you’re is the correct choice.
Remember the Difference
There are two good checks you can use to keep yourself free from errors while using these two words.
Check one: If you are not sure that your is the correct word for your sentence, look to see if a noun is anywhere around it. As I said above, your is an adjective and therefore will be modifying a noun nearby. If there is no adjective around, you might want to use you’re.
Check two: That check is a little more technical. This next check is very easy and 100 percent accurate. No matter which word you think should be placed into the sentence, substitute it with you are and see if the sentence still makes sense. If it still makes sense, use you’re. If it does not, use your.
That said, you should not get in the habit of using contractions in formal writing because many teachers and professors frown upon it. In blogging, emails between friends, and general communication they are all right, but in any professional or formal setting, it is best to avoid them.
These two words sound alike, but mixing up you’re vs. your is an embarrassing mistake that is easy to avoid.
- Your is a possessive adjective and modifies nouns.
- You’re is a contraction of the two words you are.