“Your” vs. “You’re”: How To Choose The Right Word

English is full of confusingly similar words, including ones that can be used right next to each other in a sentence. Among the most common mistakes when writing—especially when writing something quickly like an email or text—is using you’re and your incorrectly.

In this article, we’ll help you remember which one to use every time so that when it comes to choosing your or you’re, you’re your own best resource.

Quick summary

You’re is a contraction of the phrase you are, as in You’re welcome or You’re my best friendYour is a possessive adjective, as in your house or your car.

What’s the difference between your and you’re?

You’re is a contraction of the phrase you are. Easy enough to remember.

For example:

  • You’re my best friend!
  • I think you’re the perfect match for the job.
  • Make sure you’re healthy before you start training.

Any of these sentences would read the exact same way if you are replaced you’re.

Your is a possessive adjective used to show ownership. It is not a contraction. Your is usually followed by a noun (including gerunds).

For example:

  • Your hair looks great today!
  • I wish I had your energy.
  • Has all your running around made you tired?

If you added you are in the place of your in these sentences, they would not make sense.

A big reason why people get these confused is the association of apostrophes with possession, which is based on the common addition of ‘s to a person’s name to show possession, as in George’s house or Susan’s car.

And that makes it easy to forget the differences between your and you’re when in the thick of writing. But don’t fret, there are ways to remember whether you need your or you’re.

When to use your and you’re

Your first line of defense is to stop the mistake before it reaches the page. Identify which of the words has the apostrophe.

Step 2: reread your writing and say “you are” instead of using the contraction. This editing tip will snuff out most misuse of the two words.

Let’s test your new skills. Can you identify if your and you’re are used correctly in these sentences?

  • Your so talented at playing you’re piano.
  • It’s important you express you’re emotions.
  • Washing your clothes is necessary.

Both your and you’re are incorrectly used in the first sentence; they should be switched. It should look like this instead: You’re so talented at playing your piano. In the second sentence, your is the correct word to use. The third sentence is correct. How did you do?

Thankfully, once you understand the key differences, the correct use of these terms should be the least of your worries. You can move on to other frequently mixed-up pairs, like its and it’s!

Prove your grammar chops with this quiz on you’re vs. your!

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