English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the difference between the following sentences?

Your car is black.

The car of yours is black.

share|improve this question
Similarly my and mine, her and hers, our and ours, and their and theirs. – Henry Apr 23 '11 at 14:37
up vote 7 down vote accepted
  • Your is a possessive adjective.

Your car is black!

  • Yours, however is a possessive pronoun.

That car of yours is black!

It is "used to refer to a thing or things belonging to or associated with the person or people that the speaker is addressing".

Basically, those two sentences have the same meaning.

share|improve this answer
Better to say, That car of yours is black. – Jimi Oke Apr 23 '11 at 18:30
@Jimi Oke: I was just copying his examples, didn't look into them, but yeah, you're right, it sounds better, I'll edit. :) – Alenanno Apr 23 '11 at 18:34
@Alennano: Oh, sorry, didn't realize that! – Jimi Oke Apr 23 '11 at 18:35
@Jimi Oke: No worries, you were actually right. "The car of yours is black" is incorrect or just weird? – Alenanno Apr 23 '11 at 18:37
@Alennano, I think it is incorrect in this context. Whenever of yours is used, it always refers to something specific, thus the pronoun that or this should be used... – Jimi Oke Apr 23 '11 at 18:41

Yours is not a noun. It is a possessive pronoun.

yours |yôrz; yoŏrz| possessive pronoun 1 used to refer to a thing or things belonging to or associated with the person or people that the speaker is addressing : the choice is yours | it's no business of yours.

Your, on the other hand, is a possessive adjective.

share|improve this answer

Both constructions are perfectly grammatical as far as I know, so I disagree with prem shekhar. In addition to what Robusto and Alenanno have pointed out, I would say that the emphasis is slightly different for the two constructions.

For the first construction, 'your car' is taken as a noun phrase, and the subject is specifically a car that is owned by the person being addressed. Omit the possessive adjective your and 'car is black!' would not work in quite the same way. In other words, there is a greater emphasis on the fact that the car is a possession of the listener.

However, the construction using 'of yours' places more emphasis on the car, as the sentence could stand alone without this extra piece of information i.e. 'The car is black!' Hence the emphasis is on the car; a demonstrative determiner such as that or this can be used instead of the definite article the to include information like the relative location of the car to the speaker or to refer to a previously mentioned car.

share|improve this answer

"your" is already a possessive, and "yours" is a noun and does not have a plural form.

He found a book - is it yours?

I can't find my wallet, but yours is on the table.

Yours is a better idea.

Yours sincerely

Yours affectionately ← Sounds like something said at the end of a letter passed between people who are rather close.

Your affectionate ← Sentence fragment. Something else has to follow for this to make any sense.

Yours affectionate ← I can't imagine any context where this would either make sense or not sound awkward.

Your affectionately ← Another sentence fragment. Something else has to follow. In fact, it almost begs for an adjective.

share|improve this answer
"Yours" is absolutely not a noun. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 22 '11 at 15:16

protected by tchrist Nov 1 '14 at 5:37

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.