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There, Their and They're: Grammar Guide

Updated on July 25, 2013

There, Their and They're

There, their and they're are homonyms. Homonyms are two or more words that sound alike but have different meanings. Some examples are: write and right, dew and do, your and you're, and there, their, and they're. I see the misuse of these last three words often in writing. Here is the basic breakdown with examples.


There denotes a place and means in, at, or to that place.

  • I want to go over there for a better view of the stage.
  • Could you please place the signs over there?
  • There is a very good reason for his persistence.


There is a determiner belonging to them, a possessive pronoun.

  • Are you going in their car?
  • I want to be a part of their team.
  • Their song was the best of the set.


They're is the contraction of they are. If you can replace they're with "they are", then you have used the correct homonym.

  • They're going to go to the ballpark at 1:00.
  • I want to see what they're doing after the game.
  • They said that they're going to a pub.

Questions & Answers


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        abhimanyu 8 years ago

        good work, keep it up.

      • profile image

        8 years ago

        hey if i said there is a faster way of making money. is that the right there

      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 10 years ago from San Francisco

        Hi Riccardo,

        Yes, homophones and homonyms do have a distinction, but it is becoming more commonplace to call both of these meanings homonyms. I appreciate the comment.

      • profile image

        Riccardo Ettore 10 years ago

        I just "stumbled" upon this page and I believe these are homophones, that is, words that SOUND the same but are spelled differently (Homonyms are words with the same spelling but with different meanings).

        Now, if only you could find a way to stop people using it's when they mean its and let's when it should be lets :-)

        Hope this helps,Riccardo

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        Alice 10 years ago

        This is exactely what I was looking for AAAA+.

      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 10 years ago from San Francisco

        Hi Todd,

        I'm so glad it helped! Thanks for reading!! ;)

      • profile image

        Todd 10 years ago

        I've had problems with there/their all my life. I think I can finally say I now understand. Thanks a bunch, Robin.

      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 11 years ago from San Francisco

        I don't think that I said that I don't mind if you added the link to your syllabus. I am flattered. Sorry if you were at all confused. ;)

      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 11 years ago from San Francisco

        Thanks, Chuck! I appreciate the great compliment! ;) Robin

      • Chuck profile image

        Chuck Nugent 11 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

        Great article, Robin. I enjoy all of your articles, but this one hit home as I frequently see these three words used interchangeably in the papers my students submit. I teach economics at a community college, but often find myself doubling as an unofficial writing instructor for my students. If you don’t mind, I will add links to this and some of your other grammar articles in my online syllabus. Keep up the good work!

      • profile image

        Robin  11 years ago

        Hi Nirosha,

        Here's a great page on the use of articles. You are correct, your sentence does need the article "the" before needed skills because the noun, needed skills, is specific. Thanks for your comment! Robin

      • profile image

        Nirosha_7teen 11 years ago

        Hi Robin!

        I'd like to suggest that you write a hub on the correct use of articles.I find it confusing at times to decide which article is to be used when and when is it that I am supposed to avoid the use of one. ;(

        I think the following sentence needs 'the' after 'with'.

        He equipped them with needed skills.

        Am I right?

      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 11 years ago from San Francisco

        I'm glad it helped. If you have any other grammar questions, let me know and I'll try to write a hub on it. Robin

      • geek profile image

        geek 11 years ago from Shanghai

        Thanks real helpful!