What is the difference between the following sentences?

Your car is black.

The car of yours is black.

  • 1
    Similarly my and mine, her and hers, our and ours, and their and theirs.
    – Henry
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 14:37

5 Answers 5

  • Your is a possessive adjective:

    Your car is black!

  • Yours 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.

  • 2
    Better to say, That car of yours is black.
    – Jimi Oke
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 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
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 18:34
  • @Alennano: Oh, sorry, didn't realize that!
    – Jimi Oke
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 at 18:35
  • @Jimi Oke: No worries, you were actually right. "The car of yours is black" is incorrect or just weird?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 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
    Commented Apr 23, 2011 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.

  • I think the question is, what is difference in meaning?
    – TonyK
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 15:06

A native English speaker would never say "the car of yours is black." The "car of yours" construction seems mainly to be used when the simpler construction "your car" is not available. For instance, "that car of yours": we can't say "that your car" or "your that car", so we have to say "that car of yours". But we can say "your red car", so we wouldn't say "the red car of yours".

I hope I have made myself clear! But the rules are complex. Compare friends, enemies, and brothers:

He's a friend of mine


He's my friend

mean the same thing: "he's one of my friends".

He's an enemy of mine

means "he's one of my enemies", but

He's my enemy

is not quite the same; it implies that he's my only enemy. This implication is not present in "He's my friend".

And lastly,

He's a brother of mine

is not something that you would ever say, however many brothers you had. (Perhaps it is possible if you have dozens of brothers, like the child of a Byzantine potentate. Otherwise it sounds very wrong to me.)


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.

  • I would say that "the car of yours is black" is not grammatical.
    – TonyK
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 21:53

"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.


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