How to Correctly Use Their, There and They're


They are three of the most easily confused words in the English language -- “their,” “there” and “they're” -- and the confusion often occurs when people are rushing. The three words are homophones -- words with different meanings that sound the same.

“Their” Defined

  • “Their” is a possessive adjective, meaning that something belongs to “them.” Use it correctly in a sentence by saying, “Their appliances covered the counters from end to end while their kitchen was being remodeled.” If you're still not sure about the correct use of “their,” put “our” in its place. “Our” is another plural possessive adjective, and the sentence should still make sense if you substitute it.

“There” Defined

  • Most often, “there” refers to a specific place or location. Use it correctly by saying, “We ran from the juice shop to the restaurant over there.” In much the same way, “there” can function as an adverb to mean the opposite of “here.” Use it correctly by saying, “I want to sit at the table over there.” “There” also acts as a pronoun to provide a segue to a noun or phrase. Use it correctly by saying, “There isn't an open table left in the place.”

“They're” Defined

  • “They're” just might be the least confused of the three homophones because the apostrophe serves as a flag that a letter is missing -- in this case, the letter “a.” The contraction “they're” means “they are,” so say these words out loud, if you have to, when you use it in a sentence. Use “they're” correctly in a sentence by saying, “They're too good to be true.”


  • Photo Credit Chagin/iStock/Getty Images
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