Are vs our: A grammatical dissection

By Strategically AI. Reviewed by Rebecca Hey.
Updated December 7, 2022
5 minute read
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Are you one of those people who get confused with the words "are" and "our"? Well, you're not alone. Many people mix these two words, especially those learning English as a second language. 

These are two different words with distinct grammatical functions. Still, "are vs our" may confuse you because of their pronunciations. It's more about how people say the words than how they sound. 

The only way to avoid confusion is to learn about the meanings and functions of these words. Once you know their correct grammatical roles, you can quickly grasp which word the speaker is using.

Are vs our: A dissection

"Are" (pronunciation: /ɑː,ə/) and "our" (pronunciation: /aʊə/) are different words with distinct pronunciations. 

Words that rhyme with "are" are "jar," "scar," and "par." 

On the other hand, "our" primarily rhymes with "hour," "shower," and "flower."

The dissimilarities are pretty clear here, but people still mishear them because they are not entirely familiar with the English language or the speaker is sloppy with the diction. 

How to use "are" in a sentence

The word "are" is a verb that means "to be." It can be used as a standalone verb or as part of a verb phrase. 

When used as a "to be" or linking verb, "are" relates the subject to a state or condition. For example, in the sentence "We are sorry for your loss," the verb (are) connects the subject (we) to a state of being (sorry). 

Some other examples are:

  • We are the champions.
  • You are a hero. 
  • The books are on the shelf. 

When used as a verb phrase, "are" functions as an auxiliary verb. This means that it helps to form the main verb in a sentence. 

For example, in the sentence "Are you coming with us?" the verb "come" is the main verb, and "are" helps to form it. 

Here are some examples of how to use are in sentences: 

  • The flowers are blooming.
  • Are you going to the party?
  • They are stuck with a broken car. 

When used as an auxiliary verb, it helps to form progressive and perfect tenses. But when it functions as the main verb, it indicates the state or existence of something.

How to use "our" in a sentence

The word "our" is a possessive pronoun that refers to something that belongs to us. For example, "our house" or "our car" means the house or car that belongs to us. 

We can use "our" in front of a noun to show that it belongs to us. For example, "We're going to paint our garage." This means that the garage belongs to us and we're going to paint it. 

Here are some more examples of how to use "our": 

  • Our family is going on vacation.
  • I need to buy our cat some food.
  • I can't believe we won! This is our moment!

The word "our" is a very versatile word that you can use in many ways to show possession. 

As a pronoun, it refers to a group of people that includes the speaker or writer. It can be used as a verb's subject or object or possessive adjective. Here are some examples of how to use "our" in a sentence:

Subject: Our team is the best in the league.

Object: We're rooting for our team to win the championship.

Possessive adjective: Our team's colours are blue and white.

A variation of the word "our" is "ours," which means a combination of "our + noun." 

  • She is one of ours. 
  • Ours is the most popular restaurant in town.

As you can see, the word "our" has various functions. When writing, choose the form that best fits the meaning you're trying to convey.

Quiz: Can you guess the right word?

  1. Andrew's grammar skills _______ on point.
  2. _______ you _______ new English teacher?
  3. _______ little town is so quaint.
  4. It's up to us to make _______ dreams come true.
  5. _______ lives _______ a never-ending series of choices.
  6. Hurry up! What _______ you waiting for?

FAQs about Are vs Our

Is "our" and "are" the same thing?

No, "our" is a possessive pronoun that refers to ownership of something. "Are" is a verb.

No, "our" and "are" are not the same thing. "Our" is a possessive pronoun that refers to ownership of something. "Are" is a form of the "to be" verb that can work as an auxiliary verb or refer to a "state of existence." To understand the difference, let's take a look at a sentence:

  • Our books are on the shelf.

In this sentence, "our" shows possession, while "are" indicates the state of being or existence. In other words, the books belong to us and exist on the shelf.

How do you remember the difference between "are" and "our?"

"Are" is the present tense plural of the verb "to be," while "our" is a possessive plural pronoun meaning "belonged to us." Using "our" before a noun indicates that you and a few other people are the owners of that thing. 

If you want to tell apart "are" from "our," remember that both "our" and "owner" start with "O."

Is "our" plural or singular?

"Our" is a plural pronoun. It is used to refer to a group of people, usually including the speaker or writer.

  • The meeting went in our favour.
  • The authority appreciated our business plan.

What is the difference between "us" and "our?"

"Us" is an object pronoun, and "our" is a possessive determiner. We use "us" to refer to ourselves in a group. It functions as the verb or preposition object in a sentence structure. 

  • You can come with us to the concert.
  • Let us go inside the house. 

"Our" refers to a group of people owning or possessing something. It's used as a determiner of a noun.

  • Our company offers the best customer service in the industry.
  • We need to reform our team before the league starts. 

Quiz answers

  1. Are
  2. Are, our
  3. Our 
  4. Our 
  5. Our, are
  6. Are
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