Mixing up your and you’re is common, since they are homophones, or words that sound the same when spoken aloud but have different spellings. So let’s explore how to use both words appropriately.

Your is an adjective, and it means “of or relating to you or yourself or yourselves especially as possessor or possessors” (“Your”). So you can think of your as belonging to or possessing something:

Helen went to see your art show yesterday.

Did you format your research paper correctly?

You’re is a contraction, or a shortened form, of the phrase “you are” (“You’re”). So you can use you’re wherever you are would fit.

You’re going to Spain in September, right?

Trevor said you’re looking for a new apartment.

A simple test to find out whether to use you’re or your is to substitute you are in the sentence and see if the sentence makes sense. For example, let’s look at this sentence: “Your umbrella is on the table.” If you swap in “You are” for “Your,” the sentence does not make sense: “You are umbrella is on the table.” The test tells you that You’re is not correct here. Your is the correct choice: the sentence is about the umbrella you own being on the table.

Works Cited

“Your, Adj. (1).” Merriam-Webster Unabridged, 2024, unabridged.merriam-webster.com/collegiate/your.

“You’re, Contraction.” Merriam-Webster Unabridged, 2024, unabridged.merriam-webster.com/collegiate/you’re

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Laura Kiernan

Laura Kiernan is the publications and operational strategies coordinator at the MLA. She received a BA in English and secondary education from the College of New Jersey.