Commonly Confused Words: There/They’re/Their

Welcome to ‘Better English’. As promised (way back in January) I’ll be posting tips and tricks for writing better English. Some of the posts will be general advice, and others (like this one) will be about commonly confused words or phrases.

This time, we’re looking at an old favourite: there, their, and they’re.

There belongs with here and where. It’s describing a place, a moment, or an abstract (like ‘it’).

Examples:

  • Where is it? It’s over there.
  • Where have you been? Oh, here and there.
  • There are three apples here. There are two oranges over there.

They’re is just short for they are. Like I’m, you’re, we’re, etc.

Examples:

  • We’re going, but they’re not.
  • They’re glad you’re staying.
  • Are they leaving? No, they’re staying here.

Their means ‘belonging to them’, like my, your, our, etc.

Examples:

  • Their car is bigger than mine.
  • My car is cleaner than theirs.
  • Is that your car? No, it’s theirs.

There, I hope that clears up a few things. Don’t overthink the examples, they’re just a bit of fun.


If you have suggestions for a future ‘Better English’ post, please leave a comment. And if you want more detailed, personal help with your writing, you can always request a quote.

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