From time to time, I shall use this blog to highlight common spelling/grammar misconceptions that are commonly made. My intent with this series, is not to shame or condescend, but hopefully to help people who genuinely have not learned these rules. Today I’d like to tackle, “your,” and “you’re,” (and “youre,” and “ur”).
Since these words sound identical, it may be confusing that they are actually two very different words. (The last two are incorrect, but I will get to those later). Depending on what you are trying to say, only one of them is correct.
If you use the wrong one, people who know better will judge your intelligence. If you use the wrong one at work, people will judge the intelligence or even competence of your company.
So, today’s lesson is on when to use each one.
When to Use “Your”
The word “your” is possessive. Anytime the person you are talking to owns something, use “your.” This is a rare case of possession where we don’t use an apostrophe.
If you are in doubt over whether to use “your,” ask yourself:
“What is the person owning?”
If you can come up with an answer, then you can use “your.” If that question doesn’t make sense, then you should use the other one.
Your book is on the table.
Is that your coffee?
Where is your computer?
Dude, where’s your car?
Children, sit in your desks, please!
Get your shoes now!
Why is your bike in the driveway?
I read your blog/Facebook/Twitter
I got your text.
If you notice, in all of the above instances, you could pick out exactly what the person was owning…book, coffee, computer, etc. It would be incorrect to use “you’re” in any of these instances.
When to Use “You’re”
This word is actually a contraction and we use it all the time. It is a shortened form of the phrase, “you are.” If you are in doubt over whether you should use this word, ask yourself if it can be replaced with the phrase “you are.” If it can’t, use the other form.
You’re going with us, right?
You’re right/wrong/smart/crazy/silly/drunk/beautiful/amazing etc.
When you’re feeling better, we can go to the lake.
Do you know when you’re coming back?
You’re always on Facebook.
You’re texting her again?!
You’re putting your shoes on wrong.
You’re getting in my way.
You’re leaving that here?
I don’t think you’re a bad driver.
If you move her computer, you’re going to make her mad.
You’re eating now?
If you notice, in all of the above instances, the word, “you’re,” can be replaced with “you are,” and still make sense. However, it would be incorrect to use “your” in any of these cases.
Ur and Youre
Both of these are incorrect. Ur, is of course, a shorthand text version derived from the days of ten-key texting and T9. Now that we have smart phones with autotext, can we please get rid of this?! Youre is a sad confusion between your and you’re and should NEVER be used.
This can be a tricky part of the English language. I hope this clears it up for anyone who has always been confused, but could never figure it out.