‘Are’ or ‘’Our’ or ‘Hour’: What’s the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 5, 2023

Are you wondering whether to use 'are' or 'our' or 'hour?' You are not alone. These words are homophones that sound similar despite having different spellings and definitions.

There is no need to worry, though. I will explain each meaning and when and how to use them.

Before we get started, are you needing a quick answer?

If so, here it is: 

  • 'Are' is the plural (first, second, and third person) and singular (second person) present tense form of the verb be.  
  • 'Our' is a first-person plural adjective or the possessive form of the word we. 
  • 'Hour' is a noun defined as a measurement of time, precisely 60 minutes occurring 24 times daily or one twenty-fourth of a calendar day. 

As you can see, the usages and definitions are different. So, you should never use them interchangeably.

When to Use 'Are' or 'Our' or 'Hour'

Learning when to use 'are' or 'our' or 'hour' will help you polish your writing and appear more knowledgeable.

To start, 'are' is always a second-person present tense form of the verb be. 'Our' is always used in the first-person point of view, and 'hour' is a noun referring to a period.

So, how do you know which one to use and when? 

Use 'are':

  • In the present tense with you, they, their, we, both, neither, or other plural nouns.

For example, you could say:

We are going to the play this evening. Are they going? If so, where are their seats? It would be nice if we could sit together. 

Use 'our' as:

  • The possessive form of we. It is similar to theirs and yours.

For example, a co-author might say:

Our book is flying off the shelves. Aren't you happy we decided to tell our story? 

Use 'hour' as:

  • A noun when referring to a period containing 60 minutes or a specific time of day.

For example, you might hear someone say:

The dreadful hour was approaching. We would have to say goodbye to our childhood home and friends at 3 o'clock. 

How to Use 'Are' or 'Our' or 'Hour' Properly

So, you know that you use 'are' as the present plural and singular, second and third-person forms of the verb be or, 'our' as the possessive form of we, and 'hour' as a specified period or a measurement of time.

For example:

  • 'Are' you two going to fight the entire time? 'Our' train does not arrive for another 'hour,' and you are already driving me crazy.

You could also say:

  • 'Are' they sure that the hotel will allow 'our' group to check out an 'hour' later?


  • You must wake her up at half past the 'hour.' Otherwise, we 'are' going to miss 'our' appointment.

As you can see, these words are not interchangeable. They have entirely different usages.

Definition of 'Are': What Does 'Are' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'are' is:

  • A singular, second-person, present tense form of the verb be

It can also mean:

  • The present tense, plural form of the verb be
  • A metric unit occupying 100 square meters of space

Synonyms and Related Words:

  • Were
  • Was
  • Is
  • Be
  • Live
  • Keep on
  • Endure
  • Exist
  • Survive

Phrases Containing 'Are'

  • Are you there?
  • Are you ready?
  • Are you insane?
  • Are you sure?
  • Are we on?
  •  Here we are again

These 'are' some of the synonyms listed for the word. However, in most cases, there is no substitute.

Definition of 'Our': What Does 'Our' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'our' is:

  • An adjective of or relating to us that shows possession or ownership of something

Like 'are,' there are no other words to replace 'our,' unless you are writing or speaking in a voice, point-of-view, or tense, requiring a different adjective like yours.

Words and Phrases Containing 'Our'

  • Ourselves
  • Ourself
  • Our time
  • Our life
  • Our story
  • Our family

Definition of 'Hour': What Does 'Hour' Mean?

In the same dictionary, the definition of 'hour' is a noun meaning time.

However, it more specifically means:

  • A specific hour during the day
  • Measurement of Time
  • A 24th of a calendar day
  • A period comprised of 60 minutes

Words and Phrases Containing 'Hour'

  • Hourly
  • Hours upon hours
  • After hours
  • Witching hour
  • 24-hours
  • Midnight hour
  • 9 o'clock hour
  • Hourly news
  • Hourly report
  • Hourly weather
  • Hourly updates

Pronunciation: How to Say 'Are' vs. 'Our' vs. 'Hour'

When pronouncing 'are,' 'our,' and 'hour,' they sound almost identical.

So, here is a little guide.

You pronounce 'are' with this phonetic spelling:


On the other hand, you pronounce 'our' and 'hour' with this phonetic spelling:


Example Sentences with 'Are' or 'Our' or 'Hour'

You should have a pretty good idea of how to use 'are' or ' 'our' or 'hour.' However, it helps to look at plenty of examples to ensure you know how to use each. So, before you go, read through the examples below.


  • Are you attending the carnival this year? If so, stop by both 247. I will be working there.
  • How are we going to address the budget cuts?
  • Inner cities are experiencing an increase in violent crimes.
  • Where are you going this afternoon? What time do you plan on returning?
  • Are you working this weekend? If not, we are going to a barbecue. You are more than welcome to join us.
  • The academic staff is extraordinary. All are brilliant minds who are well-regarded in their fields.


  • It is important to tell our story in an intriguing and relatable way.
  • Our family has never been very close. However, we hope the family reunion will help us reconnect.
  • Will you stop by our house after you run your errands today? We would love to see you.
  • Our dog is a member of our family.
  • Do you know what our grades were on the last exam? I hope I have passed. Otherwise, I will feel like all my studying was wasted.
  • He took our savings and bought a boat.


  • You shouldn't be out at this late hour.
  • I was hoping you could give me updates every hour, on the hour. I have to be the first to know the new team colors!
  • I woke up at 3 a.m. They say that is the witching hour.
  • I will cover the first hour. You will be on call the rest of the evening.


  • Are you paid by the hour, or are you a salaried employee? Around 90 percent of our employees are hourly.
  • Are you coming to our end-of-the-year blowout sale? It starts at 9 a.m. I would get there at the top of the hour. Otherwise, our best deals will be gone.
  • If you are the winner during the 10 o'clock hour, you will win our grand prize.
  • How many times are you going to remind me about our appointment? I feel like you bring it up every hour.

Final Thoughts On Whether to Use 'Are' or 'Our' or 'Hour'

Hopefully, you have a clear understanding of whether to use 'are' or 'our' or 'hour,' but just in case, here is a quick recap:

  • 'Are' is a form of being in the singular, present-tense, second-person form or the plural, first-, second-, and third-person present-tense form.
  • 'Our' is an adjective that shows possession or ownership by us.
  • 'Hour' is a noun for a time of day or unit of time measurement.

If you happen to get stuck when using these words in the future, you can always come back to this page to brush up on this lesson. You can also check out the confusing words section here to learn about other homophones and challenging words in the English language.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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