Grammar Guide: Your or You're?

People are always asking for help determining whether to use "you're" or "your" in their writing. Turns out, it's not so simple. But this guide will guide you to the right answer.

Your is an adjective that implies possession of an object. Example: "Your ass is huge. I guess that diet's not working out, huh?"

On the other hand, you're is actually a combination of two words: you and are. It wouldn't make sense to say, "You are ass is huge." But, you could say, "You are stupid." So, in that second example, you're is the one to use: "You're stupid."

Here's the simple rule: If you can substitute "you are" for it, use "you're," otherwise use "your."

Seems easy enough, but there are a few exceptions:

  1. In parts of the deep south, the rules are reversed. There, it's actually incorrect to say, "Your grandma is also your cousin?!" Instead, you would say, "You're grandma is also you're cousin."
  2. If you want an ironic t-shirt that will make nerds laugh, swap "you're" for "your" to get the classic: "Your an idiot!"
  3. When telling a joke about someone's mom, you must replace "your mom" with "yo mama." Example: "Yo mama so fat, she sat on a quarter and a booger came out of George Washington's nose."