A simple distinction
Let me begin this article by stating a fact: I am not an English major or an expert on the language. Let me also state another fact: you don't have to be an expert to understand the difference between "your" and "you're".
These, as we shall discover, are two commonly mixed up and misused words that quite frankly, tick me off. They both sound the same when spoken. However, they mean completely different things when written.
Some other words like "lead" are written the same way, but spoken differently and have very different meanings (i.e., as a verb to show someone to a destination, or as a noun in the case of the element with an atomic number of 82). The meaning is defined by the context of what you are reading.
"You're" and "your", however, cannot be interchanged when writing because they are spelled differently and mean completely different things. They simply sound the same when spoken.
Later we'll talk about the texting version "UR" ...(God, it's like the English language had a bastard child - and its name is "TXT".)
When to use "your"
your |yôr; yoŏr| possessive adjective
As you can see, your is a possessive adjective. If you don't know what a possessive adjective is, that's ok. Your and you're are still so far apart from one another in meaning; you shouldn't have to know what a possessive adjective is in order to use them properly. Your is simply used when talking about someone's possessions, either materially or ideologically.
For example, if you are talking to someone about their cat, you would say, "I like your cat".
If you are talking about someone's idea, you'd say, "I think your idea sucks".
When you comment on my hub you could say, "I like your style even though you are an arrogant ass."
Basically, if you are referring to something that belongs to the person you are talking to, then that is the correct time to use your.
When to use "you're"
you're |yoŏr; yôr| contraction of you are
As you can see from the phonetic spelling ... you're is identical to your. However, you should also notice that you're isn't even a word on its own. It's a contraction of two other words, you and are. When spoken together you and are mean something completely different than your.
Here, lets try the same sentences above using you're (you are) in its un-contracted form instead of your.
"I like you are cat."
"I think you are idea sucks."
"I like you are style even though you are an arrogant ass."
Notice how these sentences no longer make sense?! This is because your and you're (you are) do not mean the same thing!
So when do you use you're? Simple, whenever you would normally use the words you and are when describing what a person is or is currently doing. Some examples :
"You are a good person," becomes, "You're a good person."
"You are reading this hub," becomes, "You're reading this hub."
See how that works?
Can they be used together in the same sentence?
Yes! If you are using them correctly! For example, let's go back to one of the first sentences we used: "I like your style even if you are an arrogant ass".
Both "your" and "you are" are used correctly in this sentence. You can contract you and are into you're like this: "I like your style even if you're an arrogant ass."
And there you go! You're, and your both used correctly!
Other misspellings of Your and You're
The most frustrating misspelling and misuse of of the phonetic |yoŏr; yôr| is the recent addition of "UR " to texting. For example :
"UR SO HOTT ," or
"I WNT 2 HAVE UR BABYS ".
But, then again ... texting is so far beyond repairable as far as grammar goes that I don't even want to try. Just know that every time you use UR or any other stupid little "txt slang" a kitten dies somewhere. And you don't want to kill kittens do you?
THNX 4 READING. UR AWESOME KKBYE!
Buff Up On Your Grammer
Jim Henderson from Hattiesburg, Mississippi on May 21, 2020:
Great title. I enjoyed reading YOU'RE Hub....YOUR a good writer. Seriously though! Clever and entertaining.
713 on October 27, 2015:
They don't sound the same though. Yohr vs yoor
Merridy on October 17, 2011:
Thanks for clarifying. Even "educated" people can't seem to get this straight. It's my pet peeve as well. Other irksome language violations: 1) adding "'s" for a bastard contraction: them's the breaks. 2) I regularly hear news commentators doing this one: "there's a few who..." There IS? 3) Can't distinguish "their" from "there are". 4) Oh yeah, and how about that "vast majority"? Now I aks ya: Dang, whazzup wiv Amercun Engrish?
Michael Adams (author) from USA on February 17, 2011:
Haha, very funny :) I'm glad you like it! I wrote it to honor my 8th grade teacher and all her little grammar quarks. Also because it's just such a pet peeve of mine when people mix them up. I'm ashamed to say, though ... I still do it all the time as well. =P
dablufox from Australia on February 17, 2011:
I like you're hub, just playin ;) Some very interesting insight into the use of your and you're, I will be sure never to make that mistake again.