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How They’re Distinguishing Their Homophones Here and There

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We explain the difference between the adverb “there”, the possessive pronoun “their”, and the contraction “they’re”.

There vs. Their vs. They’re
It’s hard to distinguish words that sound the same.
Correct spellings

  • THERE: refers to a place, opposite of here
  • THEIR: possessive of they, meaning belonging to them
  • THEY’RE: short form of they are

Why Do We Struggle with “There”, “Their” and “They’re”?

Do you often find yourself confused about which word you should be using—there, their, or they’re? Don’t feel bad. These words are homophones, meaning they sound the same but have three distinct definitions. Mixing these up is very common, no matter if you’re a native speaker or a language learner.

But don’t worry, we’re here to show you some tips and tricks! After reading this article, there is no way you’ll get this wrong again, and when your friends need spelling help, and they’re asking you for guidance, you’ll teach them what you learned and be their hero.


When Do We Use “There”, “Their” and “They’re”?

THERE has two meanings:

(1.) When used as an adverb, it refers to the placement of something; it is the opposite of the word here.

(2.) There can also be used to indicate that something exists.

The last place I saw my phone was over there when I came out of the room.
There is a stain on the back of your shirt.
There are my glasses! I’ve been looking for them everywhere.

THEIR is a third-person plural possessive pronoun and is used when referring to something belonging to someone (they).

Their outfit is the cutest!
I think they forgot their wallet at their apartment.
Could you let me know when their flight comes in?

A helpful trick to make sure you’re using the correct spelling is to replace their with his or her, and if the sentence still makes sense, it’s the proper usage!


THEY'RE is a contraction for the words “they” + “are”.

They’re coming on vacation with us next year.
Do you know what they’re planning for her birthday?
His wife said they’re on the way to the store.

When in doubt, use the expansion test: replace the word in question with they are, and if it makes sense, you’re using it right!


How Can I Easily Differentiate “There”, “Their” and “They’re”?

My mom and brother told me they’re going to come visit me in Paris when they get their passports.
We have plenty of time to get their birthday presents before we get there.
There are so many people attending their wedding that they’re going to need a bigger venue.
How do you think they’re going to get their car into the garage over there if the tire has no air?
They’re taking their cat to the vet next week because it’s time for her checkup.
Try to avoid: ❌

  • I think their is a rock stuck in my shoe.
  • Everyone should go to the doctor regularly to make sure there in good health.
  • Joel and Sam hope they’re package comes before they go out of town.
  • The neighbors are having a party and there music is too loud.
Correct would be: there, they’re, their, their.

Whenever you are unsure of which possibility you should use in your writing, LanguageTool will assist you with the correct spelling. But it has more to offer: style suggestions, grammar corrections, and synonyms. After trying it, you’ll say, “They’re good in their field, and I’m getting there, too!”

Try to remember:

  • There has the word here in it, referring to a place
    W+here? → T+Here
  • Their has the word heir in it, which suggests possession
    Who owns it? → It’s T+Heirs.
  • They’re has an apostrophe, indicating two words have been merged
    They are… → A stands for apostrophe
How Can I Easily Differentiate “There”, “Their” and “They’re”?
There vs. Their vs. They’re

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