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Dictionaries list the pronunciation of you're as

  • jɔː(r)
  • jə(r)
  • jʊə(r)

Which one is more common in British or American English?

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You're missing the American pronunciations jʊr and juər. Americans who don't have the pure/poor split are likely to pronounce it /jʊr/ to rhyme with tour and pure. I believe those who have the pure/poor split may pronounce it /jɔr/ to rhyme with more, /juər/ to rhyme with fewer, or /jɜr/ to rhyme with fur; which of these pronunciations are likely depends on which part of the country they are from. – Peter Shor Feb 16 '12 at 20:46
Looking at that list above, those are all British pronunciations. – Peter Shor Feb 16 '12 at 21:10
@PeterShor: Why don't you convert your above comments into an answer for the record? I would definitely give an upvote myself. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 13 '12 at 21:37
up vote 4 down vote accepted

In the U.S., if you're is stressed, Americans1 who do not have the pure/poor split pronounce it /jʊr/ to rhyme with tour and pure, and this is probably the most common pronunciation. For Americans who do have the pure/poor split, I believe it is one of the few (if not the only) words that goes all three possible ways under this split; Americans may pronounce it /jɔr/ to rhyme with more, /juər/ to rhyme with fewer, or /jɜr/ to rhyme with fur; which of these pronunciations are likely depends on which part of the country they are from. If you're is unstressed, the vowel is reduced and it is pronounced /jər/ by most Americans, regardless of the pure/poor split.

1Those who have rhotic accents; this excludes many New Yorkers and New Englanders.

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In American English it's normally unstressed [jə(r)], as I just had occasion to remark here.

On occasion it can be stressed, and then it can be any of the above. I've heard them all, and more besides.

The most useful rule is that unstressed vowels in English normally become /ə/, and function words like pronouns and auxiliaries are almost always unstressed.

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Pronouns are usually unstressed? Not in subject position, they aren’t. You always stress those. Or at least, I do. They’re often stressed as objects, too. Or so it seems to me; what about to you? Plus I can’t imagine not stressing the possessive pronouns, whether mine or yours. – tchrist Feb 16 '12 at 19:25
@tchrist: I would not stress numbers 1, 2, and 5 in your comment. Numbers 3 and 4 are pragmaticaly stressed, to emphasise the opposition. Numbers 6 and 7 also constitute an opposing pair. – Cerberus Feb 16 '12 at 19:53
@Cerberus Yes, you’re right: some of those don’t necessarily stress. The ones that never stress are the possessive determiners. – tchrist Feb 16 '12 at 19:55
The two sentences you give would normally be stressed thus: Not in subject position, they aren’t; and You always stress those. But any word can be stressed for emphasis; it's just that pronouns, articles, prepositions, and other function words are designed to get out of the way fast, and in a stress-timed language like English, that means they're reduced most of the time. – John Lawler Feb 16 '12 at 19:58
If you don't like that rule, go ahead and make up your own. That's what everybody else does. – John Lawler Feb 17 '12 at 0:25

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