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“There” vs. “Their” vs. “They’re”

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You’re not alone in your confusion about “they’re,” “their,” and “there.” These words sound the same but have different meanings. We’ll show you an easy way to ensure you’re always using them correctly.

There their and they're: Let's go over the differences.
Many people use these three homophones incorrectly.
What’s the Difference Between “There,” “Their,” and “They’re”?

There refers to a specific place, but can also be used to indicate that something exists or happens.

  • Let’s go over there to get a better view.
  • There is a big stain on your shirt.

Their is the possessive form of the pronoun they and means “belonging to them.”

  • That is their cabin, and they go once a year.

They’re is a contraction of the phrase they are.

  • They’re asking if we can help with the remodeling.

“There,” “Their,” “They’re”: Don’t Fret Over These Homophones

Homophones are words that have the same pronunciations, have different meanings, and may or may not be spelled differently. In this case, there, their, and they’re sound the same, but have different definitions and spellings.

It’s enough to make your head spin, we know. Below, we’ll go over what these words mean, review example sentences, and show you foolproof ways to ensure proper usage of these homophones.

After reading this, there is no way you’ll get it wrong again. And when your friends need spelling help, and they’re asking you for guidance, you’ll teach them what you learned here and be their hero.

What Does “There” Mean?

There is an adverb that refers to a specific location and means “in, at, or to that place.”

I had to go all the way over there for new tires.
Jordan left her bag there last night.
We went to Cairo and stayed there for two weeks.

You can think of there as the opposite of here.

If it’s not here, it’s there.

There can also be used as a pronoun to introduce a clause or a sentence. In those instances, it is often followed by words like is, are, was, were, etc.

There is a sale at your favorite store.
There their and they're are homophones.
The “here” in “there” can help you remember that this word is related to location.

What Does “Their” Mean?

Their is a third-person plural possessive determiner, and it’s used to indicate ownership.

That is their kitty, and his name is Leo.
I think they forget their umbrella at the coffee shop.
Could you please let me know when their flight is supposed to arrive?

A helpful trick that can help you check that you’re using this word correctly is to replace it with his or her. If the sentence still makes sense, you are using it properly!

This must be their suitcase.

This must be his or her suitcase.

Do you know how to use they're, their, and there correctly?
The “heir” in “their” can help you remember that the word relates to possession or ownership.

What Does “They’re” Mean?

They’re is a contraction (or shortened form) of the phrase they are.

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

If you’re ever in doubt when using the word they’re in a sentence, just use the expansion test and replace the word in question with they are. If the sentence is still grammatically correct, then they’re is the correct choice.

They’re going to dinner and then to the movies.

They are going to dinner and then to the movies.

Have you seen their new project?

Have you seen they are new project?

We have to go there to sign up.

We have to go they are to sign up.

They're is a contraction for they're.
The apostrophe indicates that an “a” has been omitted.

There’s A Way To Make Correct Spelling Easy

Keep this in mind to use these words properly:

  • There has the word here in it and it refers to a place.
  • Their has the word heir in it, which suggests possession.
  • They’re has an apostrophe, which indicates that the two words (they are) have been merged.

Homophones are just one of the many confusing aspects of the English language; don’t let them mess up your writing! LanguageTool is an intelligent writing assistant that can detect incorrect homophones and correct grammar and punctuation mistakes. Plus, it supports over 30 languages.

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