You're or Your?

What Is the Difference between "You're" and "Your"?

"You're" and "your" are easy to confuse because they sound identical.


"You're" is short for "you are." For example:
  • You're rich now! correct tick
  • Does she think you're happy? correct tick


"Your" is to show something belongs to "you" or is related to "you." For example:
  • Your answer is correct. correct tick
  • ("Answer" belongs to you.)
  • Your uncle has a Roman nose. correct tick
  • ("Uncle" is related to you.)
you're or your?

It's a serious mistake!

Mistakes involving "you're" and "your" will damage your reputation as a writer.


"You're" is a contraction of "you are." It has no other uses. This is a 100% rule. If you cannot expand it to "you are" in your sentence, then it is wrong.

Example sentences with "you're":
  • The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. correct tick (Actress Lily Tomlin)
  • (This expands to "you are," so it is correct.)
  • Doing nothing is very hard to do. You never know when you're finished. correct tick (Actor Leslie Nielsen)
  • (This expands to "you are," so it is correct.)
  • Please ask Joan to post the parcel when you're in London. correct tick
  • (This expands to "you are," so it is correct.)
  • You said that you couldn't believe you're ears. wrong cross
  • (This does not expand to "you are," so it is wrong. It should be "your.")


"Your" is a possessive determiner. (Other possessive determiners are "my," "your," "his," "her," "its," "our," and "their.")

"Your" is used before a word one of three reasons:

(1) To show it belongs to "you."

For example:
  • your car, your arm, your dog

(2) To show it is of "you."

For example:
  • your picture, your photograph, your portrait

(3) To show it is related to "you."

For example:
  • your uncle, your mother, your sibling
Here are some more example sentences with "your":
  • Our expert will answer your questions about pensions and savings. correct tick
  • (This means the questions belonging to "you.")
  • Pin your photograph to the top of the application. correct tick
  • (This means the photograph of "you.")
  • Sarah doesn't look like your sister. correct tick
  • (This means related to "you.")

"You're Welcome" or "Your Welcome"?

If you are unsure whether to write "you're welcome" and "your welcome," then you almost certainly want "you're welcome."

"You're welcome" and "your welcome" are both possible, but they mean different things.

You're Welcome

"You're welcome" (which means "you are welcome") is by far the most common as it is the correct response to "thank you." For example:
  • Your dinner is ready.
      Thank you.
    You're welcome. correct tick

Your Welcome

"Your welcome" is less common. It means the "welcome of you." For example:
  • We enjoyed your welcome. correct tick
  • We enjoyed your warm welcome. correct tick
  • (If you can put the word "warm" between "your" and "welcome," then you need "your welcome" not "you're welcome.")

Avoid "You're" in Formal Writing

As a general rule, contractions (e.g., "you're," "isn't," "can't," "don't," "it's") are not used in formal writing. In official correspondence, the normal practice is to expand them to their full forms. If you always expand contractions, you will never make a mistake with "you're" or "it's" (two notorious grammar villains).

Yours Not Your's

The word "yours" is known as an possessive pronoun (others are "ours," "his," and "hers"). There are no apostrophes in any possessive pronouns. This is another 100% rule.

Remember One of These Examples

Here are two witty examples with "your" and "you're" to help you remember how to use them:
  • You're only as good as your last haircut. correct tick (Author Fran Lebowitz)
  • When you're eight years old nothing is your business. correct tick (Comedian Lenny Bruce)

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing the difference between "you're" and "your": video lesson

Are you a visual learner? Do you prefer video to text? Here is a list of all our grammar videos.

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.