How to Use There, They’re, and Their
The words “there,” “they’re,” and “their” are commonly confused in the English language. This is due to a simple reason: they’re homophones, which means their pronunciation is the same, but they mean different things and are written in distinct ways. Although this can make it difficult to differentiate them, there are simple ways to know which to use.
5-Minute Crafts will show you the main differences between these words and some helpful techniques you can use to remember how to use them.
- First of all, the word “there” contains the word “here” in it. It can be helpful to notice that it often refers to a location. At the same time, the word “there” can also be considered the contrary of “here,” which means “at that place,” for example: “I’m here, and you’re there,” or “Stay there, I’ll be with you in a minute.” In this case, “there” is used as an adverb.
- It’s also used to talk about location abstractly, for example: “I’ll always be there for you.”
💡A simple trick to remember how to use “there” is to imagine that there’s a sort of traffic sign in the letter “r”. This may help you realize that you need to use “there” when talking about location.
- The word “there” can also be used as a pronoun when introducing a clause or sentence, for example: “There is a lake,” or “There is a job opportunity at my company.”
- “They’re” is the contraction of “they are,” just like in “you’re” or “we’re,” which is indicated by the apostrophe. This contraction can be used in sentences like, “They’re swimming in the lake” or “They’re nice people.”
- “They’re” can be used when referring to non-living things as well, for example: “They’re 2 of our major problems.”
❗Note that contractions are rarely used in formal or academic communications. Instead, these can usually be found in personal notes and other types of informal texts.
💡 A simple trick to remind yourself that “they’re” is the contraction of “they are” is to replace the apostrophe with the letter “a”. This way, you will see the word written in its complete form.
- “Their” corresponds to the possessive form of the pronoun “they.” In other words, it serves as a way of saying that something belongs to, is connected to, or is done or made by a specific person, animal, or thing, for example: “It’s their dog,” “she’s their sister,” or “the plants are blossoming their flowers.”
💡 A simple trick you can use to remember that “their” is used when referring to someone’s belongings or possessions is to picture the letter “i” as a person.