1st March 2021
Word Choice: Our vs. Hour
The words “our” and “hour” sound the same but have very different meanings. And to make matters worse, one of them is spelled with a silent “h” at the start. So how can you avoid errors when using these terms? Check out our tips below to find out.
Our (Belonging to Us)
“Our” is a first-person, plural possessive determiner. That might sound complicated, but all it means is that we use “our” to mean “belonging to us”:
Our house is at the bottom of the hill.
Have you seen our dog?
Here, for example, “our house” means “the house we live in.” And “our dog” means “the dog we own.” This word is thus always related to possession or ownership. Other possessive determiners include “his,” “her,” “my,” “your,” “their,” and “its.”
Hour (Sixty Minutes)
The noun “hour” refers to a period of time (i.e., sixty minutes):
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I’ll meet you for lunch in an hour.
I do yoga for one hour in the mornings.
You can also use “hour” to refer to the moment when the clock strikes the “hour” (e.g., one o’ clock, ten o’ clock). For instance, you might hear a radio station say:
We broadcast the latest news on the hour, every hour.
As a plural, “hours” can refer to a period of time when something is happening, such as the “opening hours” of a store or an employee’s “working hours”:
The shop’s opening hours are from 9am to 6pm.
The “h” in hour is silent, so “hour” is pronounced to sound the same as “our.”
Summary: Our or Hour?
While these words sound the same, they differ in meaning:
- Our is a possessive determiner meaning “belonging to us.”
- Hour is a noun referring to a period of sixty minutes.
The key to getting these words right is remembering the silent “h” in “hour.” This shouldn’t be too difficult with a little practice. But if you’d like to be sure your writing is error free and easy to read, you can also get it proofread by our spelling experts.
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