Confusing ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’ is a common grammar mistake. Learn how to tell the difference between these words so you can use them correctly.
What is the difference between there, their and they’re?
- ‘There’ is an adverb and behaves like a preposition. For example, ‘over there’
- ‘Their’ is a possessive pronoun. For example, ‘their grammar’
- ‘They’re’ is a contraction of ‘they are’. This can be used to refer to a group of people or one person with an unspecified or nonbinary gender. For example, ‘they’re using good grammar’
Confusing these three words is easy to do. This is because they are homophonic, meaning they sound the same. Even if you don’t have difficulties with spelling and grammar, if you’re in a hurry, it’s easy to make a typo. This is why proofreading your work is so important. Even so, it’s possible to train your autopilot brain to remember the rules. That way, you will get it right the first time more often.
If remembering the types of words they are in a grammar context isn’t for you, there are a couple of tricks you can use to remember.
For example, ‘their’ contains the word ‘heir’. If someone is an heir to the throne, it means the throne will belong to them one day. So ‘their’ refers to things people possess.
For ‘they’re’, you have to imagine the apostrophe replaces a letter. In this case, the letter ‘a’. Without the contraction, it would say ‘they are’. This should help you use it correctly.
Even so, the best of us still miss the odd mistake.
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Using ‘there’ in a sentence | there sentence examples
‘There’ refers to a place. Here are some examples of ‘there’ in a sentence:
- There is someone outside singing a very poor rendition of ‘Wonderwall’.
- There are loads of helpful resources on Readable on writing for your audience.
- There are so many great coffee shops in Brighton.
- You can hang your wet coat over there.
Using ‘their’ in a sentence | their sentence examples
‘Their’ refers to possession. Here are some examples of ‘their’ in a sentence:
- It was their idea to visit the haunted house that fateful night.
- Their terms and conditions page needs some work to be more readable.
- They changed just a few key elements of their homepage and their conversions skyrocketed.
- The ginger Tom is their cat.
Using ‘they’re’ in a sentence | they’re sentence examples
‘They’re’ is a contraction of ‘they are’. Here are some examples of ‘they’re’ in a sentence:
- The cat ran away and they’re offering a reward.
- They’re auditing their content before they make the next step.
- They’re a wonderful example for the rest of us.
- I wonder if they’re aware the coffee is like rocket fuel here.
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