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        Their vs. There vs. They’re: Meaning and Differences

        • calenderSep 12, 2023
        • calender 4 min read

        If you’re confused about whether to use there or their, this article is for you! Their vs. there sound exactly alike when spoken aloud, making them homophones. Although they have very different meanings, using them wrong is one of the most common grammar mistakes even native speakers make!

        In this article, we’ll look at these commonly confused words and their meanings with the help of plenty of charts and examples. Let’s start by understanding what their and there mean and what is the difference between the two.

        Their vs. there meaning and difference

        There means that point or that place, as opposed to here, which means to this place

        There, on the horizon, I saw the shimmering waters of the Caribbean Sea.

        I have kept the book over there.

        Their means belonging to them. It can also be used as a gender-neutral possessive pronoun, replacing him or her.

        The people will choose their leader tomorrow.

        George placed their book on the table.

        The following table better illustrates the uses and differences between there and their:

        There meaning and uses

        The word there is more commonly used out of the two. It is generally used to indicate a faraway location or a particular point in time. However, it can also be used as an interjection to reassure, console, or encourage someone. 

        Let’s understand the different uses of there with the help of the following table: 

        Their meaning and uses

        Their is a third-person possessive pronoun for them. It is usually used to refer to something belonging to a group. But, in recent times it is also used as a gender-neutral pronoun to replace him or her

        Here are a few example sentences with their:

        The successful couple just bought their new home in Manhattan.

        Orangutans take care of their young throughout their life.

        Whether to use their or there 

        A simple way to determine whether to use the homonyms there or their is to look at the way they’re spelled. 

        When it comes to there, simply replace the t with a w and see if there can be an answer for it. Here’s an example:

        Where is Waldo?

        He’s right there, by the fireplace.

        Any question starting with where can be answered by there. The word there also consists here in it, which is essentially its opposite.

        The word their contains the word heir, which indicates legal ownership of a property. You can use this to remember that their means ownership or belonging:

        The royal couple claimed the heir as their own.

        Their vs. there examples 

        To better understand the meanings and the uses of there or their, let’s take a look at a few there vs. their examples. These sentences are constructed using a similar context but have distinct meanings. Let’s take a look:

        There are plenty of cabbages left in the refrigerator for Timmy the Hampster.

        The bunch of cabbages with their bright green leaves belong to Timmy the Hampster.

        There vs. their vs. they’re

        Another homophone of there and their is they’re. It is a contraction of the third-person pronoun they and the verb are. They’re is usually used in plural settings, however, it can also be used in place of he or she is. 

        Here are the differences between the uses of their vs. there vs. they’re:

        Their vs. they’re

        As discussed before, their is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership and belonging. On the other hand, they’re is used to indicate a state of being. The trick to understanding, whether to use they’re vs. their, is to check if it can be expanded to they are. However, this shouldn’t alter the meaning and context of the sentence. Here are some examples:

        They’re leaving for Tokyo today.

        They are leaving for Tokyo today.

        Their dog is friendly, happy, and healthy.

        They are dog is friendly, happy, and healthy.

        There vs. they’re

        An easy way to decide whether to use there or they’re is to associate there with a point,  location, or possibility and they’re with to be. This can be better explained with the help of the following example:

        There is no way in which you will be able to complete the document by tomorrow without their help. They’re expecting it to be completed as soon as possible.

        The above example begins with there, which is used to introduce the topic of the sentence. On the other hand, their is used to indicate the help provided by a group of individuals. Finally, they’re (they are) is used at the beginning of the second sentence to refer to a group of unspecified individuals.

        So whether it is their or there, or maybe they’re, you’re one step closer to perfect grammar! If grammar is not your strong suit and you need a little guidance editing and proofreading your personal projects or academic documents, consider working with professional editing services.

        If you’d like some more resources on word choice and writing, you might find these useful:

        Frequently Asked Questions

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        Nandita Linkedin

        Nandita is a budding writer with a background in Psychology. She adores mysterious movies with unusual plots, cozy coffee houses, and any conversation involving Agatha Christie!

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