“Your” First Grammar Lesson

Forgive me if you already knew this one, but I feel the need to make a distinction between two commonly mistaken words.


I know that some of you are likely rolling your eyes, but you’d be surprised to how many people (adults!!!) use “your” as the only form of the word, and frankly, I just can’t take it anymore.  Too many of my highly-educated friends and acquaintances are employing poor grammar rules, and as a self-proclaimed grammar nerd, I feel it necessary to set the record straight once and for all.

To any and all professionals reading this, let’s delve into the world of homophones, as the two presented here mean very different things.

Before I get into teacher mode, I have to share a comical anecdote of a recent conversation that transpired in my classroom.  This same topic came up during an editing period, and some of my students were trying to distinguish between the two words, when one of my boys said, “Well I spell it ‘Y-O-U-R’.”  I looked at him sternly and replied, “No you don’t… You spell ONE of the forms that way.  The other is ‘Y-O-U apostrophe R-E.’”  He wanted to fight me, but like most students, he knew his efforts would be futile.

He thought it was a choice as to how you spell the word, but soon he, and all others reading this blog post will finally discover the hidden truth behind the mysteries of “your” vs. “you’re”, and that it’s not a choice but a rule.

Let’s begin the lesson, shall we?

Y-O-U-R.  A possessive pronoun used to imply that something belongs to you.  Examples: YOUR house. YOUR dog.  YOUR grammatical error.  An easy way to remember this is to take out the “Y” and you are left with “our”, which is automatically used when speaking of ownership.  Now the word “your” alone is also considered an adjective because it describes to whom something belongs.

So far so good?

Now for the fun!  “Y-O-U apostrophe R-E”.  Because of the apostrophe (‘), the word “you’re” is a contraction, that of two words merging to become one mega-awesome word.  What are the two mega-awesome words that join forces to create such grammatical synergy, you ask?  Well that’s easy: YOU and ARE, hence the “apostrophe R-E”.  Examples: YOU’RE realizing that you have written the wrong word for a very long time.  YOU’RE smarter than you think.  YOU’RE getting annoyed with me now, aren’t you?

The clue with this one is that if you can insert “you are” into the sentence, then it’s the contraction form, and not the possessive form.

Do we all feel wicked smaht now?  I hope that from now on, even in texting, your form will be stellar and Ms. Grodberg approved.

You’re welcome.

You're welcome

You’re welcome

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