When I see discussions about your versus you’re, I imagine a voice coming over a loud-speaker at a sports arena. There are two figures, huddled in opposite corners of a boxing ring.
“Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner, weighing in at four letters, we have the challenger “your.” And in this corner, weighing in at a hefty five letters PLUS an apostrophe, we have another challenger, “you’re.””
Yes, two challengers. We do not have a defending champion, as is the case with most grammatical matches involving words that sound alike but are quite different.
Let us review the English Grammar Online rules of the your versus you’re match, then.
This is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership of something, whether temporary or permanent. It is not a verb form.
Your hotel room
This is the contraction form of “you are.” It can be a complete sentence on its own acknowledging your existence. It can be followed by a verb or an adjective. It is not possessive unless someone else is talking to you, as in “You are mine.”
You’re going home.
English Grammar Online Championship Exercises
To get a little practice in before the match results are in, try your hand at these. Are they right or wrong?
- You’re sister wants you to call.
(Wrong. While you might be a sister, this is supposed to mean that the sister you have, your sister, wants you to call.)
- Your car needs washing.
(Right. It is a car you have, so it is your car.)
- You’re out of money.
(Right. It describes a condition you have.)
- Your going home.
(Wrong. You don’t own a “going home.” It’s something you are doing.)
The You’re Versus You’re English Grammar Online Winner Is…
There is no winner in this English Grammar Online battle. It’s a tie. Both you’re and your are either challengers or champions. Neither is less than the other. They are not interchangeable.
I could quote English grammar rules, but they don’t often help in real-world situations because they remind us (yes, even me) of being in Ms. So-and-so’s English/grammar class getting the rules drilled into you. Instead, think about this:
Be careful when you’re using “you’re” and “your” in your writing. They might sound alike, but they’re not. These two basic tips can help you decide which one is appropriate.
- If it is something “you” have, such as an object, name, location, or trait, use “your.”
- If it is a verb form meaning “you are” and using another verb or an adjective to describe someone, use “you’re.”
Can you write a sentence or two using your and you’re correctly? Give it a go in the comments below.