Writing Tip: Your vs. You’re

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Whether it’s on an internet message board or in print somewhere, “your” and “you’re” are often used incorrectly.  Sure, they do sound the same, but they definitely do not mean the same thing, and that is why learning the difference between the two is essential.

Let’s begin by discussing the word “your.”  In short, “your” is the possessive form of “you.”  Here are a few examples:

Is this your coat?

Did you take your vitamins?

It’s important to take your education seriously.

“You’re” is a contraction that combines the words you and are.  In “you’re,” the apostrophe takes the place of the letter “a” to help shorten the two words into one.  Here are a few examples:

You’re a great student.

Are you sure you’re studying enough?

Don’t forget that you’re almost graduating.

As you can see, “you’re” in these three examples is used as if we were saying “you are.”  You can remember the difference between “your” and “you’re” by simply remembering that the first is possessive and the second is a contraction, but many people already know this and seem to forget when writing.  If you have this problem, substitute “you are” for the word.  If that is your intended meaning, then use “you’re.”  If “you are” would not fit, then the possessive “your” is the word of choice.

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