The Oxbridge Editing Blog 14th February 2011

Funny Grammar Mistakes: Your and You’re

14th February 2011

Among some of the most common English grammar mistakes is the confusion between words that sound the same but are spelt differently. None of these homophones create more grammar problems than your and you’re, two words which are very commonly mixed up by students and adults alike. It seems so simple when you read them in a sentence, but when it comes to writing the word yourself, it is always tricky to remember just which one you need. Read our simple grammar guide and never again will you have to ask “should I use you’re or your?”

The good news is that unlike some English grammar rules, there are two clear and distinct definitions for these two words. And the even better news is that as well as explaining them to you, we also have a simple top grammar tip to help you always remember the difference between your and you’re.

Your



The word ‘your’ in English grammar quite simply means ‘belonging to you’. It is therefore most often used in sentences describing a person’s possessions.

For example: ‘Are you bringing your dog?’ or ‘Where is your book?’

To keep things nice and simple, the word doesn’t change when the objects become plural, but simply remains ‘your’.

For example: ‘Are these your socks?’ or ‘Your children are lovely’.

Another way the word is occasionally used is to indicate closeness to a person by describing oneself as belonging to them at the end of a letter or message when signing off.

For example: ‘With all my love, your loving Helena’.

So it is clear that the designers of this Gameboy game should have used the word ‘your’ in their graphics, as they were using it to describe the face belonging to Luigi: hence ‘your’ face.

You’re



The word ‘you’re’ also has a very clear definition in English grammar: it is an abbreviation of the phrase ‘you are’. In the shortened version, the apostrophe simply takes the place of the missing ‘a’.

For example: ‘You’re looking very pale’ or ‘you’re coming too, aren’t you?’

So a very simple TOP TIP for learning this grammar rule is just to check whether ‘you are’ fits in place of the word you are using in your sentence. If it does, ‘you’re’ is the version of the word you need, and if not, ‘your’ is the one.

Clearly the company who made this security sign didn’t know about this top tip, as they meant to use ‘you’re’, meaning ‘you are on camera’ but actually have mistakenly used the ‘your’ form instead!