Are vs Our

Have you ever wondered why native English speakers say the word “our” as if it were “are”? 

Many non-native English speakers are taught to pronounce the word OUR as a 2-syllable word, pronounced like “OW-er” (or “hour”). 

Native speakers know that saying “our” that way is technically correct, too. But most of the time, you’ll hear native English speakers say “our” as a quick, 1-syllable “are.” 

“Our” is a possessive pronoun meaning anything belonging to ‘you and me’. In English, however, pronouns are typically not stressed. Instead, they are reduced or shortened, and only stressed for emphasis. 

The other possessive pronouns, “my,” “your,” “his,” “her,” “its” and “their” are already said as one syllable and so they are pronounced the way they look. It is only “our” that is shortened. 

You can hear “our” being pronounced as “are” in almost any song. For example, the 70s song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young called Our House is sung clearly as: “Our (‘are’) house is a very, very, very fine house”. The 80s song, Our House by the group, Madness, is the same: “Our (‘are’) house in the middle of ‘are’ street, ‘are house … “ Likewise, Taylor Swift sings her 2007 “Our Song” as “‘Are’ Song.”

Now, there may be a time when you want to emphasize OUR: “That is OUR house, not YOUR house.” In that case, go ahead! 

But the most common and natural way is to say OUR as ‘ARE’ – it’s easier, faster, and perfectly correct.

But please REMEMBER: In writing, OUR remains o-u-r.