How to Use There, Their and They're

Опубликовал Admin
26-10-2016, 10:40
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Expert Reviewed The English language has many words much like there, their and they're. Most native English speakers pronounce each the same way (they're homophones - words making the same sounds); therefore, it can be tricky to determine which spelling fits the way it is being used in each case. Such spelling problems are sometimes called "demons of spelling". Each spelling means a different thing, and it is important to communicate clearly and correctly in your written correspondence especially business or academic writing.

Grammar Help


  1. Use there when referring to a place; think of "here" and "where". The place can be either concrete ("over here or there by the building") or more abstract ("it must be difficult to be there in your mind").
  2. Also use there with "to be" verbs. There plus a "to be" verb (be, is, am, are, was, were) indicates the existence of something, or mentions something for the first time.
    • "There are antiques in here, but where? Look there. Oh, and, here we've found them!"
    • "Are there many of the documents stored here? Yes, here, where they are safe. See where they are -- right over there!?"
    • "There will be a picnic here, and there is a monstrous campground over there across the river. There is one of the places where they are staying that night."
  3. Use their and theirs to indicate possession. Compare to "heir" -- to inherit possessions as "an heir of their uncle who had no children." Their is a possessive adjective and indicates that a particular noun belongs to them.
    • "Sam and Jan are heirs of their parents' land and possessions as "their legal heirs"."
    • "Their things were broken." Compare "Our things were broken." Yes, it shows possession.
    • "I see their flowers are blooming in their garden." "Yes, from the seeds their grandmother gave to them last fall."
  4. Remember that they're is a contraction of the phrase they are. It is not a modifier, but only a noun (who or what does the action) and verb (action or state of being).
    • They're my friends." Check that " They are my friends." makes sense. Yes!
    • I would go with you, but they're going to take me. Check, " they are going to". Yes!
  5. Ask test questions. Ask yourself these questions, but they may not work in a few cases:
    • For there, will the sentence still make sense, if you replace "there" with here or where? If so, it's right.
    • For their, will the sentence still make sense -- if you replace "their" with our (to see whether it is a possessive sentence), but of course that would change to whom it belongs. Ours would belong to us, theirs belongs to them. Still, if "our" fits logically it is right/possessive.
    • For they're, will the sentence still make sense, if you replace "they're" with they are? If so, it's right, but if not, then they're is the wrong word.
  6. Recognize incorrect examples and learn from the mistakes. By looking over others' work with a critical eye, especially by offering proofreading or copyediting help, you can become more sensitized to correct usage and practice it yourself.
    • Wrong: Their is no one here.
    • Wrong: Shelley wants to know if there busy.
    • Wrong: The dogs are happily chewing on they're bones.
    • RIGHT: I can't believe they're leaving their children there, alone!
  7. Practice, practice, practice! Get your English teacher or friend to say several sentences aloud that include one of these three words and write down which version they are using. Find grammar quizzes on the internet. Hire a private English tutor if you're still having trouble.


  • Another hint: “there” has “here” buried inside it to remind you it refers to place, while “their” has “heir” buried in it to remind you that it has to do with possession
  • Try imagining this scene: you see your neighbours standing outside their house, picking up rubbish that they accidentally spilled on the ground. You point at them and say to your friend: "Look over there [location], they're [they are] picking up their rubbish [possession]"
  • Turn off the auto-correct feature in your word processor. People tend to get lazy and forget special rules when the computer automatically corrects mistakes like the ones listed above.
  • Remember there, their, and they're by the following rules:
    • there : the word here is in there so refer to there as a word for location.
    • the ir: the word he is in their so refer to their as a word for people.
    • they' re: there is an ' in they're so they're is like they are . Instead of saying they're, say they are to see if it makes sense.
  • Spell out your contractions. Replace can't with cannot , you're with you are , and they're with they are . This way, you will catch yourself if you make a mistake in writing.
    • The students misplaced they're books would become: The students misplaced they are books.
      • Here, the second sentence makes no sense; hence, it is improper usage.
  • If you have "there is" or "there are" then it's always "there" -- you'd never say "they're is" or "they're are" or "their is" or "their are".
  • If you've ruled out "they're" or "their" as the correct form, then "there" is one you should go with!
  • If you're unsure if you're using "their" correctly, try replacing it with "my" —the sentence should work with the substitution. For example: Their house is purple. If you replace "their" with "my" the sentence still makes sense: My house is purple. So, you know you're using "their" correctly.
  • Learning to spell correctly can help you succeed in school, get a great job, and be a contributor to wikiHow articles.
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