you're and your - the difference

The Quick Answer
You're is short for you are.
Your shows that something belongs to "you" or is related to "you" (e.g., your car, your father).

You're and Your

Some writers are confused by you're and your. A mistake involving these constitutes a grammatical howler.

You're

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.

Examples:
  • The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. (Lily Tomlin)
  • (Expands to you are – correct)
  • Doing nothing is very hard to do. You never know when you're finished. (Leslie Nielsen)
  • (Expands to you are – correct)
  • Please ask Joan to post the parcel when you're in London.
  • (Expands to you are – correct)
  • You said that you couldn't believe you're ears.
  • (Does not expand to you are – should be your)

Your

The word your sits before another word (usually a noun or a pronoun) to show that it belongs to "you" (e.g., your car, your arm), is of "you" (e.g., your picture, your photograph) or is related to "you" (e.g., your uncle).

Your is a possessive adjective. (Other possessive adjectives are my, your, his, her, its, our, and their.)

Examples:
  • Our expert will answer your questions about pensions and savings.
  • (questions belonging to "you")
  • Sarah doesn't look like your sister.
  • (related to "you")

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are adjectives? What are nouns? What are pronouns? What are absolute possessives? What possessive adjectives? List of easily confused words