You’re vs. Your

What is the difference between YOU’RE and YOUR?

You’re and Your sound the same in English. Words that sound the same are called homophones.

What is the difference between Your and You’re?

YOUR – Basic Explanation

YOUR = a possessive adjective. It shows possession, that something belongs to the person you are talking to.

Examples of possessive adjectives are MY, YOUR, HIS, and HER:

My book, Your book, His book, Her book.

  • You have a book. Your book is new.
  • This is not my book, it is your book.

YOUR can refer to a thing (or person) that the other person has.

  • Your friend is tall.
  • Your mother speaks English.
  • Your shirt is dirty.

Friend and mother are NOT possessions! They are something that you have.

YOU’RE – Basic Explanation

YOU’RE = YOU ARE

You’re is a contraction of you are.

  • You’re intelligent. (You’re here means you are … you are intelligent)

YOU’RE and YOUR in the same sentence

Look at this example:

  • You are reading your book. (Your is a possessive adjective … it is not my book, it is your book)

In this sentence, we can replace You are with the the contraction You’re.

  • You are reading your book =
  • You’re reading your book.

This is an example of You’re and Your in the same sentence:

Can you see the difference?

The first YOU’RE is a contraction of YOU ARE … and the second YOUR is a possessive adjective.

The difference between YOU'RE and YOUR in English

MORE DETAILS…

How do we know when to use YOUR or YOU’RE?

It depends on the next word or words.

YOUR + NOUN

We use Your + Noun (usually a thing)

  • You have a ball. Your ball is red.
  • Your friends are here.
  • Can I use your dictionary please?

NOTE: There is no article before the noun.

  • Your a friend is here. (Not correct)
  • Your friend is here. (Correct)

Sometimes there is an adjective before the noun.

  • Your crazy friend is here. (Correct)

YOU’RE + ADJECTIVE (description)

You’re = You are … is often followed by an adjective.

  • You’re tall. (= You are tall … tall is an adjective)
  • You’re busy today.

NOTE: There is no noun after the adjective unless there is an article.

YOU’RE + VERB-ING (an action)

You’re = You are … can be followed by a verb ending in -ING.

  • You’re watching a video right now.
  • You’re going to learn these rules.

You’re = You are … can also be followed by a noun.
Before the noun there is usually an article (a, an, the)

  • You’re a man. (man is a noun)
  • You’re a wonderful person. (There can be an adjective before the noun)

More examples of YOU’RE vs. YOUR

Can you see the different uses?

  • Where is your umbrella?
  • You’re learning English at your school.
  • You’re busy right now.
  • Your dinner is ready.
  • You’re happy your ticket won the lottery.

YOUR or YOU’RE with a noun?

YOU’RE: We NEED an article (a, an, or the) before the noun.*

  • You’re a father. (= You are a father… because you have a son or daughter)

* (Or another type of determiner. We will see more about determiners in another lesson – for now articles are more common with You’re)

YOUR: There is NO article before the noun

  • Your mother is nice. (Refers to the mother you have)
  • I am your father. (…said Darth Vader)

Look at this:

  • Your father. (Refers to the father you have… not you)
  • You’re a father. (Refers to you … YOU are a father)

See how the last sentence needs the article (a) before the noun (father).

YOUR + Plural Nouns

Remember, we do NOT add an S to the end of your with plural nouns.

  • Your book. (CORRECT)
  • Your books. (CORRECT)
  • Yours books. (WRONG)

How can I remember the difference between YOU’RE and YOUR?

1. Replace YOUR with MY.
If it sounds correct then YOUR is correct.
If it doesn’t sound correct, then you need to use YOU’RE.

YOUR house is big.
MY house is big. (Sounds CORRECT)

YOUR crazy.
MY crazy. (Sounds WRONG) … It needs to be YOU’RE crazy.

2. Replace YOU’RE with YOU ARE.
If it sounds correct then YOU’RE is correct.
If it doesn’t sound correct, then you need to use YOUR.

YOU’RE married.
YOU ARE married. (Sounds CORRECT)

YOU’RE bike.
YOU ARE bike. (Sounds WRONG) … It needs to be YOUR bike.

How to remember the difference between YOU'RE and YOUR in English

The difference between You’re and Your is a common mistake even for native speakers in written English so don’t worry if you find it difficult at the beginning.

Lesson tags: Apostrophe, Common Mistakes, Contractions, Homophones, Possessive Adjectives, To Be
Back to: English Course > Descriptions in English