Difference Between Your and You’re (With Table)

English is a simple language yet it can be confusing at times. Encountering words that sound exactly the same but differ entirely in their meaning are very common in everyday English. Such words that have the same pronunciation are called Homophones. One such pair of homophones includes ‘your’ and ‘you’re’.

Your vs You’re

The difference between ‘Your’ and ‘You’re’ is that ‘Your’ is the possessive form of a pronoun whereas the latter is a contraction of the words ‘you’ and ‘are’. The apostrophe in ‘You’re’ signifies the letter that is unwritten but is present in the pronunciation.

‘Your’ is the possessive degree of the pronoun ‘ you ‘. ‘Your’ is possessive which means that a particular thing belongs to the second person in the situation or the one who is being spoken to. ‘Your’ is always followed by a noun that is associated with the second person.

‘You’re’ on the other hand, is a combination of two words, ‘you’ and ‘are’. This combination of words with the use of an apostrophe is called contraction. The apostrophe in the contraction represents the unwritten letter but is present in the pronunciation.

Comparison Table Between Your and You’re

Parameters of ComparisonYour You’re
Contraction‘Your’ is not a contraction.‘You’re’ is a contraction of ‘ you ‘ and ‘are’.
Part of Speech‘Your’ is a possessive pronoun.‘You’re’ is the subject or part of the verb.
The Indication‘Your’ indicates possession.‘You’re’ indicates a state of being.
Used with‘Your’ is used before an adjective or a verb.‘You’re’ is used before a noun.
Writing‘Your’ can be used in formal writing. ‘You’re’ is not a preference in formal writing.

What is Your?

‘Your’ is usually before a noun or a pronoun, to show that it belongs to the second person, is of the second person, or is related to the second person. It is a possessive adjective or a possessive pronoun and is used when describing something that is owned by the second person.

It is used to signify anything that belongs to the person who the first person is talking to or the person who is being talked about. ‘Your’ cannot be followed by another adjective or a pronoun as it is being used to describe something about the second person. ‘Your’ is usually followed by a noun or more. Unlike ‘you’re’, ‘your’ is not a contraction. For example:

  • “You forgot your laptop in the classroom”. In this sentence, ‘ you ‘ own the laptop and is the second person in the conversation. Moreover, ‘your’ is followed by a noun.
  • “Your clothes and shoes have gotten wet in the rain”. In this sentence, ‘your’ is signifying something about the second person in the conversation and is also followed by two nouns.

‘Your’ can also be replaced with the possessive version of a noun, although that will change the sentence completely it would be still correct.

What is You’re?

‘You’re’ is a combination of the words, ‘ you ‘ and ‘are’. This combination of words is called a contraction. Whether the word ‘you’re’ or the words ‘you are’ are used in a sentence, it means exactly the same thing. Even the pronunciation is similar, only the way that particular sentence is written is different. The apostrophe in the contraction represents the unwritten letter but is present in the pronunciation. In this case, ‘a’ is the missing letter.

To check the correctness of the word ‘you’re’ being used in a sentence, it should still make sense if ‘you’re’ is replaced with ‘ you are ‘. If the sentence makes the same exact meaning by replacing the word, then the word is used correctly. For example:

  • “You’re a good boy Riley”. In this sentence, if we replace ‘you’re’ with ‘you are’ then the sentence becomes, “You are a good boy Riley”. Since the two sentences make exactly the same sense, it means that ‘you’re’ is correctly executed in the sentence.

Unlike ‘your’, ‘you’re’ is not a figure of speech. In formal letters, the contractions are not preferred, and therefore instead of ‘you’re’ only the full form ‘ you are ‘ is used.

Main Differences Between Your and You’re

  1. ‘Your’ is a possessive adjective whereas ‘you’re’ is a contraction.
  2. ‘Your’ is only a single word whereas ‘you’re’ is a combination of two words.
  3. ‘Your’ indicates possession while on the other hand, ‘you’re’ indicates a state of being.
  4. ‘Your’ is followed by a verb whereas ‘you’re’ is followed by a noun.
  5. ‘Your’ can be used in formal documents whereas a contraction such as ‘you’re’ is not used formally.

Conclusion

‘Your’ and ‘You’re’ make one homophone pair and it has proven to be one of the most confusing English when writing. As they are similar in pronunciation, it doesn’t make a difference while speaking the two. However, it can be tricky while writing.

‘You’re’ is used with an apostrophe that is a common symbol of contraction for many words but only a rare number of contraction words are homophobic with words that have no contraction. This is where the confusion originated in the first place. Since both ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ are very commonly used in sentences, it is very often that people get confused between the two.

Although it doesn’t make any difference while speaking but while writing, incorrect use of these homophones will make the sentence grammatically incorrect and it wouldn’t make any sense. Even if in rare cases that the sentence is still grammatically correct after incorrect use of these homophones, its meaning would completely contradict what it should actually be conveying.

It should also be kept in mind that the use of contractions in formal documents is avoided whereas ‘your’ can be used formally. Hence, the purpose of these two words must be clearly understood for them to make sense in an English sentence.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/BF03197027
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-015-9161-4_4

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