They’re, their, and there are homophones – which means they sound the same but mean different things. That’s why it can be really difficult to use them correctly. The English language can be very complicated! But we’ll go through each word together so hopefully, you will have a better understanding.
They’re is a contraction of the phrase ‘they are‘. It’s really as simple as that! An easy way to tell if ‘they’re‘ belongs in a sentence or not is to take away the contraction, and use the full phrase. You don’t have to actually write it out, but simply ask yourself. For example:
They just got they’re new car.
Repeat the sentence and use ‘they are’ instead of they’re.
They just got they are new car.
Does that make sense? Definitely not! So we now know, ‘they’re’ is not the proper word to use in that sentence. Let’s look at more examples of ‘they’re’ used properly.
- They’re going to the park tomorrow. [They are going to the park tomorrow]
- They’re my friends! [They are my friends]
- I think they’re going to drive. [I think they are going to drive]
- They’re so funny. [They are so funny]
Their indicates possession. Their indicates something belongs to someone. Usually, if you can replace ‘their‘ with our, then you’re using it correctly. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
- Their dog was very cute. [Our dog was very cute]
- The cars in their driveway are amazing. [The cars in our driveway are amazing]
- This is their car. [This is our car]
- Their house was broken into. [Our house was broken into]
When we use there, we are referring to a place. This can be a literal place, like a building or country or it can be more figurative. Usually, if you can use here or where instead of there in a sentence, you’re using it correctly. Here are a few examples:
- I’ll be over there by the apartment. [I’ll be over here by the apartment]
- There is a Greek restaurant on Main St. [Where is a Greek restaurant on Main St?]
- I got my new coat over there. [I got my new coat over here]
- There are many cold cases that don’t get solved. [Here are so many cold cases that don’t get solved].
THERE, WHERE, HERE. It’s all location, location, location!
There = Location
Will the sentence make sense if you replace it with where or here?
Their = Possession
Will the sentence make sense if you replace it with our?
They’re = They Are
Will the sentence make sense if you replace ‘they’re’ with ‘they are’?