‘Your' vs. 'You're': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on November 25, 2022

Getting 'your' vs. 'you're' confused? You're not alone! It's time to clear the confusion around these two words once and for all. This article will do just that.

In short:

  • 'Your' indicates possession, and 'you're' is a contraction of 'you are.'

What's the Difference Between 'Your' Vs. 'You're'?

What makes it tricky to differentiate between 'your' and 'you're' is that they are homophones. That means they sound the same but are spelled differently and have entirely different meanings.

Some other common homophones are 'whether' and 'weather,' 'boarders' and 'borders,' and 'hear' and 'here.'

Let's learn the difference between the two and when you can and can't use each one.

'Your' Meaning and Usage

'Your' is a possessive adjective. You can use it to indicate that something belongs to the person you are speaking to.

The other possessive adjectives are listed below:

'Your' can sometimes be confused with 'you're because to make the possessive form of a noun, you usually combine it with an apostrophe and 's.'

For example:

Don't let them eat the cat's food!

That's the boy's shirt.

I live at my parents' place.

This use of an apostrophe means that apostrophes are often associated with the possessive pronoun. However, it's important to remember that you only use an apostrophe with a noun to form the possessive. The rest of the time, you use possessive adjectives and pronouns.

Now let's take a look at some examples of 'your' used in a sentence:

Eat your soup; it's going cold.

How's your marathon training going?

Remember to use your manners.

'Your' is always followed by a noun in a sentence.

'You're' Meaning and Usage

'You're' is the contracted version of 'you are.' It's the present indefinite tense.

  • A contraction is a way of combining two words into one to make the whole thing shorter. They're often used in conversational contexts.

Here are all the contracted versions of the verb 'to be' in the present indefinite tense:

  • I'm
  • You're
  • She's
  • He's
  • It's
  • We're
  • They're

Let's look at some examples of 'you're' used in a sentence:

Are you sure you're okay?

Do you know where you're going?

You're a very creative person.

'You're' will never be followed by a noun in a sentence, but pretty much anything else goes.

Tip to Remember the Difference

The problem with 'your' vs. 'you're' is that the error doesn't always come up in a spellchecker, so unless you're using one that also checks for grammar, you'll have to audit your own writing.

One great way to know whether you should use 'your' or 'you're' is to replace the word with 'you are.' If it makes sense, then the correct spelling is 'you are.' If it doesn't, the correct spelling is 'you're.'

For instance:

You're being pedantic.

In the example above, you can replace 'you're' with 'you are' and the sentence still makes sense.

Let's look at another example:

Your hair looks great today!

In the above example, if you were to replace 'your' with 'you are,' the sentence would no longer make sense. Therefore you know to use 'your' and not 'you're.'

Can You Use 'Your' and 'You're' in the Same Sentence?

You can absolutely use 'your' and 'you're' in the same sentence. Just remember that it becomes even more important, then, to get it right. Let's look at a few examples of sentences that use both words.

I know you're doing your crossword, but could we chat?

You mentioned you're experienced, but your CV says otherwise.

Please tell me more about your journey so far and why you're here.

Concluding Thoughts on 'Your' Vs. 'You're'

Hopefully, you now feel much more confident using 'your' vs. 'you're. Both English language learners and native speakers alike get this one mixed up, so don't sweat it if you still find it confusing.

Just keep practicing, and come back to this blog whenever you need to double-check if you used the correct spelling.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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