JS Tip 253: From the Writing Workshops: Your, You’re, To, Too, and Two

We appreciate your suggestions and questions.

Robin Barkdull of the Utah State government asked us to explore “your” and “you’re.”

Your is possessive. Belonging to you. “Your work is excellent.” 

You’re is a contraction of you are. It’s never possessive. Never. Ever. “Because your work is excellent, you’re getting a raise and a company car—a Corvette.”  

Play the substitution game. If you can substitute you are into the passage, use you’re:

      You’re work is excellent.

      You are work is excellent.  

No. That doesn’t work, so you’re doesn’t work. Use your.  

Your work is excellent.

Good. Try again.

      You’re getting a company car—a Corvette.

      You are getting a company car—a Corvette. 

Yes. That works. So you’re is correct.

Sort it out. Do it right. Your credibility is at stake. (The credibility that belongs to you. Your. Possessive.)

Daniel Olson of the Flowserve Corporation asked us to explain the different uses of to and too.

To is a preposition meaning “in the direction of”: “We gave the paper files to the judge.”

Too is an adverb meaning “as well,” “also,” or “in addition to”: “We gave her the hard drives, too.”    

One way to remember is to see the extra o in too as an additional letter.

What do you think? Does that help?

We love this stuff.