Your vs You’re

Confusing Your and You’re is one of the classic grammar mistakes in English and even native speakers will make this error.

This article explains the difference between them and when to use each one so you don’t get tagged by the pedants of grammar out there!


Firstly a few words on the difference between these two very different words.

your = possessive

Your is a possessive adjective which shows that something belongs to someone or a group of people.

Where is my coat?
You put your coat over there.

Ok everyone, make sure you pick up your bags and put them on the coach.

you’re = you are

Meanwhile, you’re is a contraction of you are.

You are going to be the first to arrive.
You’re going to be the first to arrive.

Teaching the Difference

If a student has a problem choosing which one to use, simply explain to them that they need to expand the contraction and see if the sentence still makes sense.


* You’re car is really dirty!

* an asterisk at the beginning of a sentence means it’s ungrammatical.


* You are car is really dirty!

which is obviously wrong. So, it should be:

Your car is really dirty.

And then, if they want to talk about owning or possession, then there is only one option: your

This is my book and that is your book.

The Big Picture

Finally, who knows what was going on when they wrote the copy for the picture on this page. Quite simply if you take away the contraction and expand it, it would read:

* Now your are cooking.

Which is just plain wrong!

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Posted in English Usage.

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