Grammar Guerilla: Your And You’re

I have noticed these two words being confused more frequently of late, hence a grammar guerilla post. Your is the possessive of you. It means that something belongs to you.

“I see that your ball rolled into the street.”
“The house is yours but the front lawn is mine.”
Your hair is beautiful. I wish I had some.”

By contrast the word you’re is a contraction formed from the words, you and are. Its meaning is quite distinct from that of your:

You’re the best Husker fan in Nebraska.”
You’re a regular reader of the Heidelblog.”
You’re on the road to adopting the confessional Reformed theology, piety, and practice.”

In each of the last three examples we may substitute you are in place of you’re and say the same thing. In none of the six cases above may we exchange your and you’re.

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5 comments

  1. One of the constant gadflys in my grammatical armour is your v. you’re.

    Thank you, Scott.

    Ron Beabout

  2. One of the most delightful courses from The Great Courses company is the 24-part English Grammar Boot Camp, by Dr. Anne Curzan of The University of Michigan. The lectures on “Prescriptivism: Grammar Shoulds and Shouldn’ts” and “Descriptivism: How Grammar Really Works” are worth the price of the course. Dr. Curzan is that rare combination – an expert who is a great communicator and who is truly entertaining. Some of the catchiest lecture titles are “Fewer Octopuses or Less Octopi?” “Which Hunting,” and “Funnest Lecture Ever.” The content is superb throughout. What a treat.

  3. I cringe when I see supposedly educated people constantly using your and you’re wrong, as well as there, their and they’re incorrectly on their FB posts!

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