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There, Their, They're - A Rant About Internet Spelling

Updated on November 9, 2012
Their There and They're
Their There and They're | Source
I can't take it any more!
I can't take it any more!

I can't take it any more! - It's driving me nuts. I'm going to have to have a rant about this simply to preserve my sanity!

OK. I understand that the World Wide Interweb is not the most literate of places - Why should it be? After all, if you want to hook up with someone and they with you, then the style and method you and they choose to accomplish that is up to you.

Is it me - or has spelling gone to the dogs these days? Hastily typed emails, texts and forum comments will always throw up some errors - that is to be expected, but these basic spelling gaffes seem to be becoming the norm on the interweb.

It's almost like people are learning to how to write from studying other people's dodgy interweb typings. I have lost count of the times I have read lines like "He could of done it" instead of "He could have done it" - "could of"? - I mean, what the hell does that mean?

As I said, private communication between people is their business, but when writing a piece for publication, we expect that some sort of polishing has gone on before it is inflicted on the general public.

My main bugbear concerns the use of the words There, Their and They're. They all have the same sound, but all have very different meanings, and they are constantly mis-used on the Interweb. The problem lies in the fact that although they are used in the wrong context, their spelling is nevertheless correct and so the error is not picked up by spellcheckers. This gives the authors the false impression that their copy has no errors.

Does this Matter?

Well yes, I think it does. You may be reading through a wonderfully flowing piece of text, lost in the narrative it is portraying - When suddenly - you hit a word that makes no sense in that context, and a mental spanner is immediately thrown in your brain's gearbox. - "What"? - You then have to go back and re-read the sentence a couple of times in order to understand what the author meant to say. The spell is broken, the continuity lost and the story spoiled through basic errors.

So which of the "There" sounds, are correct in which situation?

Here's a handy guide.

"There", means "in, at, or to that position" - i.e. it is over there. An easy way to remember this is the phrase "here and there", because the word is simply "Here" with a "T" on the beginning - "T here"

"Their", means "Belonging to them". An easy way to remember this is the phrase "they were heir to their fortune", because the word is simply "Heir" with a "T" on the beginning - "T heir".

And finally "They're". This is actually a shortened form of "They are". The "a" having simply been replaced with the apostrophe - "They(a)re" becomes "They(')re).

That's it. My rant is over. Hopefully this little guide has clarified the use of these words for those who weren't sure of how it worked, and will allow your writings to flow uninterrupted - just as you always intended.

I think I need to lie down in a darkened room now ;)

Time to lie down.
Time to lie down.

More Grammar/Spelling Help

There, Their, They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd
There, Their, They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd

After one reading and it was a rather pleasant reading; my grammar and punctuation have improved dramatically. An easy style and layout, this lady certainly knows her stuff, without being stuffy in the teaching process.

This book made brushing up my grammar, comprehensive and enjoyable, highly recommended to anyone that writes anything, even a letter to their milkman.

 

Comments

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  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    6 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ twilanelson - Although the rant was very much tongue-in-cheek, such misspelling do drive me bonkers!

  • twilanelson profile image

    Twila Nelson 

    6 years ago from Carmichael, California

    Beautiful RANT and very useful Hub. Typos, misspelled words and errors in grammar drive me crazy when seeing them often in an authors work. I lose interest quickly in an article or story full of errors. Thank you !

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    6 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @Wolf - Thanks. It's obviously not just me who gets hot under the collar about this ;)

  • profile image

    Wolf 

    6 years ago

    It is driving me insane as well, and English is only the third or even fourth most important language where I live. Why are people purposely spelling this way? Are they so lazy that taking an extra couple of seconds to write proper sentences is too hard a task? Even adults in English speaking countries are writing like 14-year-olds. Technology is dumbing people down... Great rant Gaizy.

  • profile image

    jt walters 

    7 years ago

    Thenk cue!!

    JT

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ LK Egooh - Hi, I'm no expert on this, and I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I would say that "Lie" (apart from telling fibs), means to put oneself into a reclining position e.g. "I shall lie down", and "Lay" is the act of putting something other than yourself into a reclining position. e.g. "She lay the baby in her crib" or "he lay down his tools". It is also used as the past-tense of "Lie" e.g.you wouldn't say "I went to my bed and lied down", it would be " I went to my bed and lay down"

  • L.K. Egooh profile image

    L.K. Egooh 

    7 years ago from United States

    Thank you. I take great pride in using correct grammar and spelling. Though the use of lay and lie are still a tad confusing.

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ Jt Walters - Glad to have you on board. I promis knot too chik yur speeling.

  • profile image

    Jt Walters 

    7 years ago

    Hi Gaizy,

    I appreciate your sense of humor. I loved the article and I am following you now. But don't check my spelling or grammar please.

    All My Best,

    Jt

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ Barry - Fanks four the comments man, yo saved mi Lyfe.

  • profile image

    Barry  

    7 years ago

    Is that a picture of you with the gun? Don't do it man it's not worth it. I'm trying to watch my spellin while I write this :)

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ nicheguy. Thanks - It's looking like texting is definitely the bad guy.

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ JT Walters - Thanks for the comment. It's all tongue in cheek, I thought it would be an easy way to help people (especially those unfamiliar with the language)to remember which is which.

  • nicheguy profile image

    nicheguy 

    7 years ago from Snowflake

    Nice Hub, and I totally agree. The cause of most of this bad grammar, is texting.

  • JT Walters profile image

    JT Walters 

    7 years ago from Florida

    Because this is an international forum, I think we should go light on grammar and spelling. Many of us are publishing in a language that isn't our first or second language.

    But well written article.

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ Arkarni - Thanks for your comments. It looks like there may well be scope for another Hub on this subject.

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ Matt In Jax - Yes, I think texting may have a lot to answer for.

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ The Casual Reader - Ha ha - Well spotted (another one that spelling checkers can't help with), and duly corrected. Yes it's easy to get carried away when ranting ;)

  • Gaizy profile imageAUTHOR

    Gaizy 

    7 years ago from Denbigh, North Wales, UK

    @ DXElliot - Thanks for the comment - Maybe another Hub in there then?

  • Arkarni profile image

    Arkarni 

    7 years ago

    Excellent point! I have often stumbled across the exact some problem, and been permanently put off a good writer or story line because of terrible spelling/grammar. To the spelling, we have spell checkers installed on every computer! As to the grammar, it appears to be a dying art. There/their/they're is probably the worst offender, but it is closely followed by the misuse of the words 'where' and 'were' as well as the often present/missing apostrophy in 'its'.

  • Matt in Jax profile image

    Matt in Jax 

    7 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

    Grammar in general is very pathetic of late. Texting and other popular culture mediums are primarily to blame.

  • The Casual Reader profile image

    The Casual Reader 

    7 years ago

    While I think it is great that you included tips for those who may wish to improve their writing skills, I must say (as a casual reader) I think sometimes we make too much of these things. For instance, one could point out that "peoples" is a collective noun referring to the people of different nations, races, etc. (Ex. "The peoples of many nations are hoping for world peace.") In the hub, the correct word would be "people's", but while I did notice it, it took me less than a split second to determine what you meant and in no way detracted from the hub. And really, what's a missed apostrophe when one is ranting, eh?

  • DXElliott profile image

    DXElliott 

    7 years ago from Central Texas

    Excellent rant. Someone should address the pervasive "your" and "you're" confusion, as well.

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