They’re? or There? or Their?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Three words that cause a lot of trouble in English are they’re, there, and their. I don’t know why we have so many words that sound the same but have different spellings or meanings (called homonyms), but they exist and we just have to know them.

  • They’re taking their dog in there?
  • They’re eating their dinner there.
  • They’re parking their car over there.
  • They're kicking their soccer ball over there.
  • The term “they’re” is a contraction of two words: “they” and “are”. Their is a possessive adjective, indicating what belongs to someone. There is an adverb meaning 'at that place', as in “The potato chips are over there.”

    A little practice will erase any confusion. People (even native English speakers) sometimes mistakenly use these words interchangeably in writing, which is a no no.

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