Your vs You're‏‎

© <a href='http://www.flickr.com/photos/teflon/' target='_blank'>Martin Deutsch</a>Confusing Your and You're is a common mistake made by learners and native speakers alike. This article explains the difference between them and when to use each one.

Difference

Your - possessive

Your is a possessive adjective which shows that something belongs to someone or a group of people.

Where is my coat?
You put your coat over there.

Ok everyone, make sure you pick up your bags and put them on the coach.

You're = You Are

Meanwhile, you're is a contraction of you are.

You are going to be the first to arrive.
You're going to be the first to arrive.

Teaching the Difference

If a student has a problem choosing which one to use, simply explain to them that they need to expand the contraction and see if the sentence still makes sense.

Thus,

* You're car is really dirty!

* an asterisk at the beginning of a sentence means it's ungrammatical.

becomes:

* You are car is really dirty!

which is obviously wrong.So, it should be:

Your car is really dirty.

And looking at the picture on this page, if it's expanded it would read:

* Now your are cooking.

Which is just plain wrong!

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