There are some words in the English language that can be quite tricky to use. This is especially true when two words sound the same but have different meanings. How many times have you looked up how to use a word (or which word to use) only to forget the next time around?
Word Watch is where I will be focusing on common word mistakes that everyone makes, whether you are a seasoned writer or a casual poster on social media. My goal is to provide a quick reference guide and a handy trick to help you to know which word to use in the future.
Today, I’ll start with the ever recurring you’re and your conundrum.
Let’s Get Started
First, it’s important to understand that an apostrophe ( ’ ) is used to either show a possession or a contraction. A possession means what it sounds like – it is used to show that something is possessing something else.
Example: Lisa’s coat is blue and black. (Lisa possesses the coat)
A contraction means a word that is made up of two words being squeezed together.
Example: I’m coming to the party this weekend. (I’m is the contraction of I am).
The apostrophe is used to mark the missing part in a contraction. In the example above, the apostrophe is representing the missing a.
Taking what we have learned, we can start to understand the differences between you’re and your. You’re is a contraction for the two words you and are (the apostrophe is representing the missing a). So instead of saying you are, you can write you’re.
Example: You’re coming to the party this weekend (instead of you are coming to the party this weekend)
Your on the other hand is used to represent possession.
Example: Your coat is blue and black.
Handy Tips for Remembering
One handy way to know whether you should use you’re or your is to ask yourself this question: Can I use “you are” instead? If you can use “you are” and the sentence still makes sense, then you use you’re. If not, then you use your.
I hope you have found this little tip helpful! Stay tuned for my next Word Watch as I get into some more tricky but common mistakes!