Your vs. You’re — What’s the Difference?

Folks often confuse your and you’re in written English. They are homophones, words that sound alike but have different meanings. (Check out our other articles on homophones like whole/hole and it’s/its.)

Your is a possessive pronoun, indicating something belongs to someone, while you’re is a contraction of you are. 

  • Your: Belongs to you.
  • You’re: You + are.

Let’s delve into these distinctions and a handy way to remember them.

Your — It Belongs to You

Your is a possessive pronoun, signifying ownership or belonging. Just like his shows that something belongs to him, your shows that something belongs to you. For example:

Is this your book?

Your success is well-deserved.

Please don’t forget your keys.

You’re — You Are

You’re is a contraction of you are, combining the pronoun you with the verb are. For example:

You’re going to love this movie. (You are going to love this movie.)

I heard you’re planning a trip.

You’re the best friend anyone could have.

Apostrophes Show Contraction

When a thing ‘contracts,’ it shrinks or comes together. We use apostrophes to show this in our language.

In you’re, we use the apostrophe (’) to show the deletion of the letter ‘a’ and the contraction (bringing together) of you + are. We use the apostrophe in the same way in other contractions like don’t (do + not) and they’re (they+are).

This use is different from the other common use of apostrophes, to show possession. We add apostrophe + s to nouns in order to show ownership or belonging. For example, “Michael’s sparkling prose,” or “EditorNinja’s brilliant editors.”

Your and You’re — Knowing When to Use Each and Examples

If we remember that you’re is a contraction of two words — you + are — we can substitute those two words to see which version of your/you’re is appropriate.

For example, let’s figure out which one is correct in the following example:

I like ______ dress.

Well, let’s try this: “I like you are dress.” Doesn’t work, does it? Indeed, the possessive your — not the contraction you’re — is correct.

I like your dress.

Now this one:

It looks like ______ very happy.

So, would we say, “It looks like you are very happy”? Yes! Then you’re is correct.

It looks like you’re very happy.

Your and You’re — Remembering the Difference

We love mnemonic devices — tools for remembering — here at EditorNinja. 

It may be easy for some folks to simply remember that you’re is a contraction of you are. But if you’re still struggling, here’s a tip:

Remember: A for apostrophe and A for are.”

Look at the word you’re. 

It has an apostrophe and an e at the end. What could that apostrophe and that e be there for? Well, they’re there because the word are was added to the word yourwe simply swapped the a for an apostrophe, and kept the e.

So which one is a contraction of you are? The one with an A — “a” for apostrophe and “a” for are.

More Examples of Your and You’re

Examples of Your

Here are some correct uses of “your.:

I think you should bring your umbrella.

How do you like your eggs?

Your nails look amazing.

What’s your favorite movie?

Examples of You’re

Here are a few examples of “you’re” used correctly.

Have you decided whether you’re going?

You’re not going to like it!

I think you’re very pretty.

I’m going to sit on this side, and you’re going to sit on that side.

Examples of Your and You’re Together

Here are some examples of “your” and “you’re” used together correctly.

You’re wearing your Christmas sweater.

You’re going to love your results.

Is that your new car that you’re talking about?

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