One of the most frustrating grammar mistakes that people can make is mixing up your and you’re.
This includes native speakers of English making this mistake as well! Just because someone grows up speaking the language does not mean they always know or pay attention to the difference between these words.
Don’t make the same errors! If you can write free of mixing these words, you are already ahead.
Your is a possessive pronoun. This means that you use it when you are talking about someone owning something. In this case, the owner is you.
Any time that you are describing something that you own, you can use your. Note that the object form of the possessive pronoun is yours. This means that instead of saying your ball, you can replace the phrase with yours.
- Julie was telling me all about your achievements! Congratulations!
- I had no idea that these were your views on your role in the workplace.
- Is this your book?
- Is this book yours?
As with any other word, the apostrophe (’) symbol indicates that there are letters missing. For most contractions (words with apostrophes), it is some letters from the beginning of the second word that are deleted when the two are combined.
For you’re, the letter missing is “a”. You’re can be split into you and are.
Every instance that you use you’re, you should be able to replace the you’re with you are without changing the meaning at all. If the meaning is different or weird, chances are you mean to use your.
- John said that you’re coming to the party on Wednesday night.
- You claim that you’re Sherlock’s best friend, and yet you never know what he has been up to the last week?
Note that for both of these examples above, you’re can be switched with you are without changing the meaning at all.
Telling Apart Your and You’re
You can use a fairly simple test to determine whether or not you have used the correct word. Try to substitute the you’re or your with you are or my. If the sentence makes sense with you are, then you’re is correct. If it makes sense with my, then your is correct.
Try this example sentence (try the substitution test!):
(1) sure that (2) ready to get (3) phone back? It has been extremely distracting for you!