You learned in elementary school that homonyms are words that sound alike but have different meanings. Homophones are a type of homonym. They’re words that sound alike but have different meanings and different spellings.
In this Grammar Tip, we’re going to talk about one of the most commonly misspelled and consequently misused set of homophones:
YOUR and YOU’RE
When you use these words incorrectly, it completely changes the meaning of the sentence, drives readers crazy and reflects poorly on you. I’m going to give you some tips so you’ll never mix these words up again.
YOUR is a possessive adjective. It usually comes before a noun or pronoun, showing that the noun or pronoun either belongs to you or is related to you.
Your home is lovely.
Your mother’s cupcakes were delicious.
YOU’RE is a contraction of you are. If you can’t replace it with you are and have your sentence make sense, it’s wrong. Unlike so many other grammar rules, there are absolutely no exceptions to this one.
I hope you’re having a great day.
You’re a smart person.
Your and you’re have inspired some great memes illustrating why it’s important to get them right. Such as:
One leaves you nourished, the other leaves you dead.
I’m sure you’ve seen others and I invite you to share them in the comments below. The point is, it’s easy to get this one right.
She is the author of Words to Work By: 31 devotions for the workplace based on the Book of Proverbs and Finding Joy in the Morning: You can make it through the night. She is also the co-creator of several coloring books for adults.
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