Difference between Your and You’re

Updated on September 15, 2016

Your and you’re are two English words that some people find confusing and annoying. It’s a common writing error to mix up the two. Although both words sound the same, the difference between the two is rather simple.



You’re is a contraction of the words you are. The apostrophe in the middle shows us this contraction. It is usually followed by an adjective or by the present participle, particularly the verb form ending in -ing.


I can’t believe you’re eating all the cookies.

You’re occupying the entire space.

Do you think you’re ready?

You’re awesome!

When writing sentences, remember that if the two words you are do not fit, then the contraction you’re should not be used.

Your is defined as belonging to you. It shows that the following noun belongs to “you.” It is a form of the possessive case of you and a second-person possessive adjective, which is used as a modifier before a noun or gerund.


Your book is heavy.

Is this your bag?

What happened to your house?

Your travel expenses are getting out of hand.

Your vs You’re

So what’s the difference between your and you’re?

The two words your and you’re are often misused because they are pronounced the same, but they differ in meaning. Your is a possessive adjective that indicates something that a person has. It is usually followed by a noun, while you’re is simply a contraction of you are.

To differentiate the two, check if there is a noun somewhere, because your modifies a noun since it is an adjective. Try to substitute your with my. My is also a possessive adjective. If there is no noun or adjective, then you can use you’re. You’re is simply a contraction of you are. If you can replace you’re with you are and the sentence makes sense, use you’re. If it does not make sense, use your.


Your hair is long.

This sentence is correct because the word follows a noun and refers to the hair belonging to you.

You’re hair is long.

This sentence is incorrect because if you expand the word to you are, it doesn’t make sense.

Your beautiful.

This sentence is incorrect because the word doesn’t precede a noun. If you substitute it with my (my beautiful), it doesn’t make sense at all.

You’re beautiful.

This sentence is correct because the word can be expanded to you are.

You’re being impulsive with your decision.

You’re is followed by a verb and can be expanded to you are. Your is followed by a noun.

Comparison Chart

Possessive adjectiveContraction of you are
Normally followed by a noun

Your + noun

Normally followed by adjective or present participle ending in -ing

You’re + adjective

You’re + verb -ing


You can watch the video below to have a clear understanding on the differences between you’re and your.