Categories: Language Lab

What is right? The difference between “Your” or “You’re”

There are some words in the English vocabulary which sound the same as another word but have a drastically different meaning. These words are called homophones and are very common in everyday English. Homophones are pairs, and occasionally trios, of words which sound the same but have different spellings and different means.  They often cause native English speakers problems and are a frequent source of questions for those who learn English online, especially those who learn English online.  Incorrect word selection is often not found when spell checking documents since many do not check for correct grammar. This adds another level of difficulty for those just learning English as the incorrect usage is not discovered until too late.

One of the pair of homophones which are frequently confused is you’re vs your.

This blog post will explain the difference between your and you’re, give you some examples of how the words are used, provide you with some tips which will help you select the correct word, and finish up with a short quiz to help you test your knowledge.

Your – its meaning and usage

Your is the possessive form of the pronoun you. Your is used as a second-person possessive adjective.  This means that the word your is always followed by a noun which belongs to or is associated with you.

Some examples:

You can usually unlock your mobile phone with your fingerprint, password or face scan.

Most experts agree that a vegetarian diet is better for your health as well as the environment.

Some tips for picking the right word

Your is always followed by a noun or a gerund. If one of those is note in the sentence, you are probably using the wrong word.

You can also replace the word “your” with the possessive version of a noun, although this will change the sentence completely. In the sentence “Is this your bowl?” you can substitute “the dogs” for “your” and the sentence is correct.

You’re – its meaning and usage

The word you’re is a contraction of the words “you” and “are”.  The apostrophe in a contraction represents missing letters, in this case the missing “a”.

Some examples:

Have you decided where you’re going for holiday?

You’re my best friend.

The easiest way to check if you are using the correct word is the replace the “you’re” with the words “you are”. If your sentence still makes sense, you’re using the correct word.


The following quiz will help you practice using “your” and “you’re”.  Simply pick which sentence is correct:


a) May I borrow your textbook? I left mine in my locker.
b) May I borrow you’re textbook? I left mine in my locker


a) I am glad you’re going to the concert.
b) I am glad your going to the concert.


a) If this you’re dog?
b) Is this your dog?


a) Did you manage to recover the data from your mobile?
b) Did you manage to recover the data from you’re mobile?


a) Which of the football teams is you’re favourite?
b) Which of the football teams is your favourite?


a) How many people are you expecting for your birthday party?
b) How many people are you expecting for you’re birthday party?


a) Which of the English classes is you’re favourite?
b) Which of the English classes is your favourite?


a) It is a good idea to choose a wireless service that will allow you to customize your service.
b) It is a good idea to choose a wireless service that will allow you to customize you’re service.


a) It is your day to wash the dishes.
b) It is you’re day to wash the dishes.


a) Your cat likes to lay on you when you’re asleep.
b) You’re cat likes to lay on you when your asleep.

Quiz Answers:

  1. A
  2. A
  3. B
  4. A
  5. B
  6. A
  7. B
  8. A
  9. A
  10. A

Points to remember

Words which sound alike but have different spellings are known as homophones. The pairs of words can be a bit challenging to those learning English online listening.

The homophones your and you’re often confuses even native English speakers.

Your is a possessive adjective.  It is always followed by a noun in a sentence.

You’re is a contraction of two words, “you” and “are.” Contractions can be easily recognized by the apostrophe.  Generally, contractions are not used in academic and formal papers and documents.

Do not rely on spell check to catch errors when using your and you’re.  Since you are likely to spell the words correctly many programs will not point out the mistake.  Be sure to read papers carefully.

The easiest way to check if you’re is the correct word to use is to read the sentence aloud, replacing you’re with the words “you” and “are”. If the sentence still makes sense you are using the correct word. If not the correct word to use is your.


Related article: Improve your English – Common Homophones

Published by EF English Live

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