This is another post in the English Grammar series, where I write about English grammar – words misusage, unpardonable errors, structure, convention and so on. Click on English Grammar to access all the posts in the series.
Today, I’ll be talking about the misuse of “your” and “you’re.” Like many other pair of commonly misused words, the misuse of these ones also arose from how Nigerians hear them when pronounced.
When native speakers, especially black Americans, pronounce “you’re,” it usually sound like “your” and Nigerians took it from there. It is hard to fight it, because they believe if the owners of the language could say “your” where “you’re” is appropriate, what can us mere borrowers say.
“Your” and “you’re” do NOT have the same meaning and so CANNOT be used interchangeably. One is used to indicate ownership while the other is a contraction of two words.
ALSO READ: Meaning of Acronyms Relating to Nigeria
When to use YOUR
Your is a possessive adjective used to indicate ownership. It is immediately followed by a noun.
You should only use “your” when you want to talk about the ownership or possession of something.
- Is that your car?
- There is a stain on your shirt.
Did you notice that nouns followed “your” immediately? If you didn’t, please go and check again.
Tip: Car and shirt are nouns.
When to use YOU’RE
You’re is a contraction of two words: you and are. You’re is appropriate for use only where “you are” is appropriate because they are (and mean) the same thing.
It is very wrong and silly to use “your” in place of “you’re.” Please, master this very well.
Consider the two examples below to see how you’re is used
Correct: You’re not serious.
- Incorrect: Your sick.
Correct: You’re sick.
CHEAT 1: If you’re confused about which one to use, see if a noun will follow the word (or you want to talk about ownership), if there is, YOUR is the right word. If there isn’t (or you want to talk about someone), YOU’RE is the word to use.
CHEAT 2: When you’re confused about the right one to use, try seeing if “you are” sounds right. If it does, use “you’re” and if it doesn’t, use “your,” but remember it must be talking about ownership.
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- YOU’RE is the contraction of you and are and they mean the same thing.
- YOUR is a possessive adjective used to indicate possession or ownership.
I wrote a post on the misuse of AM and I AM and some collations you’ll find helpful, check them out.
Do you understand now? If you have questions, please ask in the comment section below.
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