They're, There, Their

Just like you're and your, these three words are commonly abused through inappropriate usage.

THEY'RE is what you use to contract the two words they and are.

  • They're going to the mall.
  • They're two peas in a pod.
  • They're bringing the kids to the park.

THERE is a real or imaginary place.  You can also use it to let people know something exists, like so:

  • The stack of money is over there.
  • There is a huge stack of money on my desk.
  • There will be a test on grammar this afternoon.

THEIR means something belongs to those people (whomever you're talking about).

  • That is their stack of money, not yours.
  • Their grades on the test reflected their poor grammar skills.
  • Their husbands are watching football.

If you want to get really fancy, you could say:

They're bringing their kids to that park - the one over there.

Too much?

Have you encountered abuse of these words?  What advice do you have for people struggling to remember the differences between them?

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© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on, it's stolen.

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Freelance Writing Tips by Angie Papple Johnston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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