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“Your” vs. “you're”: Why the confusion?

Instead of saying "you're free to [...]," I've seen many people use "your free to [...]."

I've seen your being used where you're should be used. This is especially prevalent in American ads (Craigslist, for example).

Which of the above is correct usage?
I might be wrong; English is not my native language (I'm Asian).

  • 1
    There is no shortage of this error in the UK either :)
    – psmears
    Apr 9, 2011 at 17:39
  • 1
    As an English teacher, I find myself more and more frequently telling my students to ignore what they see around them and trust in themselves that they are right. Isn't that sad?
    – Karl
    Apr 10, 2011 at 0:53

3 Answers 3


You're is a contraction of you are whereas your solely refers to possession. So

Your free to...

is entirely incorrect.

  • 3
    It bugs the crap out of me too.
    – Sam
    Apr 9, 2011 at 17:05

You're is a contraction of "you are."

Your is a possessive form. You're likely to see these words confused with each other because they sound the same in speech.

You're welcome,


  • I am only talking about it's usage in writing, not while talking. I've seen it's wrong usage hundreds of times. so many times that I started doubting myself, thinking may be I was wrong. Thank you for clarifying.
    – user187809
    Apr 9, 2011 at 17:42

An easy way to choose which one to use is to try and substitute with you are. If you are works then you can use you're, otherwise use your.

For instance, saying

You're very beautiful today

is the same as

You are very beautiful today

On the other hand

These are your shoes

is not the same as

These are you are shoes

As you can see the last sentence doesn't mean anything.


Another thing you can do is to try substituting I am or they are

They are very beautiful today


These are they are shoes

Again, the second does not mean anything.

And, of course, 10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

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