Oh lordy, if ever there were three words people get confused over when writing the English language it is there, their and they’re. Even seasoned writers such as myself get into a pickle with these at times, having to think twice as we write, and often noticing upon editing the piece that we have unconsciously made the dreaded mistake of confusing one for the other.
For newcomers to the English language this is a minefield of confusion. When speaking these three words they sound the same, yet when writing it becomes a different story. And so today I will put down some examples to display clearly how there, their, and they’re should be used properly.
We use “there” to indicate a place, a location. It is sometimes used with the verb to be as an idiom. It is spelled like here which means “this location.”
- I was there yesterday
- He wanted to be there
- Hey, look over there.
- It’s there on the table, I told you that five minutes ago
“Their” is a possessive pronoun and is used to describe the noun. It indicates plural possession (more than one person). Note the spelling of their. It comes from the word they, so the e comes before the i.
- It was their choice to get divorced
- Their taste in curtains is outrageous
- I gave them their rucksacks and they headed off into the jungle
“They’re” is a contraction of “they are.” Note the spelling: The a from are is replaced by an apostrophe.
- They’re going to the shop
- They’re a mean bunch of people
- I can’t believe they’re going to leave their mother to clear up that mess.