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  • our

    It is common to hear the possessive pronoun our incorrectly pronounced like the verb are or the letter r. The correct pronunciation is the same as hour. Our and hour are what are called homophones, words that are pronounced identically but have different spellings and meanings. However, our and are are not homophones. They not only have different spellings and meanings, but different pronunciations as well. Remember never to confuse the pronunciation of our with are. As a reminder, think of our as being the same as hour, but without the h.

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    Posted by Rachel V. in Pronunciation

    9 Responses to “our”

    Thank you for taking the time to add your thoughts to the discussion. I can't respond to every comment, but I read and appreciate them all.

    1. Sean says:

      Actually, “are” is the preferred pronunciation, according to Merriam-Webster, although “hour” is also acceptable:

      \är, ˈau̇(-ə)r\

      But seriously — this is like arguing over whether “soda” or “pop” is the correct term for a carbonated beverage. They’re just regional variations. Choose your battles; you can’t go around beating people over the head to do things the way you prefer every time they say something a way that you wouldn’t have.

      • Sean says:

        Also, Tim is also spot-on. Whether you consider “hour” a mispronunciation, “are” a mispronunciation, or both as perfectly valid, neither way is a grammar mistake.

    2. Tim says:

      Whether pronouncing our as are is a regional variation or a mispronunciation, it can hardly be considered a grammar error. Pronunciation is not part of grammar.

    3. tps says:

      For years I was an English instructor at a large Southern university. I see no insult in the website’s writer stating that “our” should be pronounced as a homophone of “hour”. I agree completely. I hear the word “our” mispronounced as “are” on TV and radio constantly. Perhaps popular culture will change the correct pronunciation one day, but as of now it grates on my trained ear.

    4. Debbie says:

      I’m sorry if this sounds rude, I do not mean it to I just find a lot of what you’re saying very offensive. (I came across this site while trying to research where my pronunciation of ‘our’ as ‘are’ is mainly used and if it was a more modern change to language.)

      You display a very prescriptivist and judgmental view- especially considering that the majority of Northern English speakers pronounce ‘our’ as a homophone of ‘hour’ whilst Southern English speakers, (which by the way I am, and I feel insulted by the suggestion that having a regional accent apparently makes me inferior) pronounce ‘our’ as a homophone of ‘are’.

      There is no such thing as language ‘decaying’. Language- like any other part of society needs to progress and language change is necessary. This argument about language decaying has been around since the beginning of language and is made regardless of any advances in language.

      There is no such thing as correct in language, language is standard or non-standard (and even that is a judgmental way of looking at things), and considering the fact that what constitutes standard changes over time I don’t think you can tell people how they must pronounce things.

      Finally, the purpose of language is to be understood not for you to pass judgments about other people based on which part of the country/world they happened to be in when the ‘correct’ way of speaking was decided. I do not understand why, when so many other prejudices are rightly condemned, prejudice towards people based on their use of language is still deemed acceptable in this day and age.

      • jaykee says:

        Bottom line is, ‘our’ should ALWAYS be pronounced the PROPER way, ‘HOUR’ . You sound like a complete retard, pronouncing it ‘are’. Stop insulting the English language, and use PROPER grammar!!!

    5. Peadar says:

      So perhaps we should also rhyme ‘your’ with ‘secure’ instead of ‘yore’? Sure enough, this was the original pronunciation, but that’s the way all short, frequent & usually unstressed words behave — they decay more readily than the other ones, compare ‘a’, originally the same word as ‘one’. The fact that ‘our’ has resisted the change longer because it’s rarer (‘your’ has to cover the meaning of ‘thy’ as well as its own) doesn’t mean that some mysterious forces will prevent it from yielding to the _linguistic change_ forever. You may not like it as a matter of style, but it’s weird to call it a ‘blunder’. Contemporary languages are one big blunder if you take the point of view of our forefathers.