Are, Our

There Our Good Reasons for Are Concern about Using English Correct

by Owen Fourie

Yes. The title is hogwash, but it shows the state of current English usage.

There are three errors in this title:

  1. Our should be Are.
  2. Are should be Our.
  3. Correct should be Correctly.

The third error has to do with the correct use of adverbs, the subject of a separate article.

The confusion of are and our

This article deals with the confusion of are and our, which is rife in social media and text messaging.

There isn’t any justification for this confusion. Whichever word is used incorrectly, it is because the person using it has a mistaken notion that is based only on what is heard.

At some point, the writer must have seen both are and our,

  • but has failed to note their distinction;
  • and is stuck with the spelling of one of these words;
  • and uses that spelling for both.

Words of similar sound require sight to distinguish them in the learning process. Failure to do this, properly, brings the sort of confusion that exists in the use of are and our.

The following needs to be noted for correct usage:


Are is the present tense form of the verb ‘to be’.

Note where are is used in the following order:

  • first person singular: This is my plate of food.
  • first person plural: These are our plates of food.
  • second person singular: These are your potatoes. (All mine? Wow! Thanks!)
  • second person plural: These are your plates of food. (Thanks! May we sit over there?)
  • third person singular: This is her / his / its plate of food.
  • third person plural: These are their plates of food.

To write this word as our betrays the ignorance of the writer.


Our is the first person plural possessive adjective.

The order of the possessive adjectives is

  • first person singular: my plate of food;
  • first person plural: our plates of food;
  • second person singular: your plate of food;
  • second person plural: your plates of food;
  • third person singular: her / his / its plate of food;
  • third person plural: their plates of food.

To write this word as are simply displays gross ignorance.

“These are our plates of food” looks ten times better than the food and a thousand times better than “these our are plates of food” or “these are are plates of food,” wouldn’t you agree?


Have you observed other words like are and our that are ignorantly confused in common usage? Mention them here. Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

Here are more articles to help you with English words, grammar, and essay writing.

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