There vs Their vs They're

Common Mistakes - English Grammar

A common mistake not only for students learning English but also for native speakers is the difference between There, Their and They're in written English.

This happens because both words sound the same when they are spoken.

Words that sound the same but have different meanings (and sometimes spelling) are called homophones. Therefore they're, their and there are Homophones.

Which words would make the following sentence correct?

  • They’re/Their/There playing they’re/their/there video games over they’re/their/there.

The answer appears at the end of the post so let’s learn the rules meanwhile.

What is the difference between There, Their and They're?

THERE

There is the opposite of Here. It means “in that place” not here.

  • A: Where is my book? – B: It’s over there.
  • I will look for a hotel to stay when I arrive there.

There is/There are = to show that something exists.

  • There is a book on the table
  • There are many countries in Europe.

THEIR

Their is a possessive adjective which is used before a noun. It shows possession, that something belongs to them.

  • Their house is big.
  • All of their friends were crazy.
  • The children put their books in their school bags.

THEY’RE

They’re is a contraction of they are.
e.g. They’re happy = They are happy

They’re is usually before an adjective or a verb ending in ING.

  • They’re very interested in the project.
  • I personally think they’re crazy!
  • They’re singing loudly.

Example sentence...

So now you know the difference let’s try the original question:

  • They’re/Their/There playing they’re/their/there video games over they’re/their/there.

The answer is:

  • They’re playing their video games over there.

Why?

They’re playing (they’re is used before a verb ending in -ing making it the progressive tense)

Their video games (their is a possessive used before a noun to show possession)

Over there (there because it means not here, in that place)


Here is a chart we have created to show you more about the difference:

The difference between There, Their and They're


Next activity

Try are interactive game to practice the difference between There, Their and They're.


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Last Updated: 13 November 2014
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