Grammar Yours vs. Your’s: Which One Is Correct? |
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Yours vs. Your’s: Which One Is Correct?

You may have seen both yours and your’s written before, particularly if you read blogs and social media. (Both forms can appear often in text messages too.) How do you know which word treatment is correct?

Let’s get to the bottom of that—along with the reason why so much confusion surrounds this topic.

Yours vs. Your’s: What You Need to Know

Yours is the correct word to indicate possession. Technically, it is a second-person possessive pronoun, meaning it refers to something that belongs to you.

Here are a few sentences with yours being properly used:

My umbrella is more elegant than yours.

Janet likes her drawing but says yours shows special creativity.

Jim’s order is still being prepared, but yours is already delivered.

Your’s, with an apostrophe, is never correct. You may see it written on occasion, but it counts as a misspelling or grammatical error. Understanding the reason for the mistake will help you avoid it.

Why Is There Confusion With Yours?

The confusion over yours vs. your’s has a simple cause. In written English, possession is often noted by an apostrophe and an “s.” Consider the following examples, all of which are grammatically correct:

We went to my brother‘s house for Thanksgiving.

John‘s cabin is far away from the city.

I never knew Suzanne‘s skills as a debater were so impressive.

In these sentences, the normal apostrophe + “-s” construction tells us the house belongs to my brother, the cabin belongs to John, and Suzanne has strong debating skills.

Given that this convention is so frequent in our language, it would be normal to assume that a word such as yours would also need an apostrophe. However, because its communication of possession is already self-contained, yours requires no punctuation.

To further reinforce this point, let’s look at a few more examples from related words:

Terry wasn’t sure whether he was using the right combination for his locker.

Few people can keep track of their kids every second of the day.

Christy was sure her grades would improve after switching majors.

Before these examples, we’d been discussing possessive pronouns acting as stand-in nouns (e.g., the coat is mine; mine = my coat). In the sentences right above, the possessive words are adjectives. Those who are intermediate or further in their knowledge of American English will recognize how strange the sentences would have appeared if we had written them as:

Terry wasn’t sure whether he was using the right combination for his’s (or his’) locker.

Few people can keep track of their’s kids every second of the day.

Christy was sure her’s grades would improve after switching majors.

Beyond having the grammatical knowledge to recognize proper and improper usage, you can tell when words simply don’t look right.

If you’ve ever found yourself getting tripped between yours and your’s sometimes, we hope this review helps to clear things up for you. If you still have thoughts or questions about this topic, simply use the comments section below!

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2 responses to “Yours vs. Your’s: Which One Is Correct?”

  1. justin Roake says:

    Chris’s book or Chris’ book?

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