grammartime: there/they’re/their

I know that this topic has been covered many times, but their are still people who misuse these words all the time. Online, in print, and I think I can evenĀ hear people use the wrong word. Their needs to be an intervention! We need to band together and ensure there using the proper words to avoid confusion and perpetuation of language misuse.

There is nothing worse than having your beautiful work of linguistic art marred by wrong word usage. It makes a great piece of writing look unprofessional, unpolished, and just plain unappealing.

Words that sound alike but have different spelling, called homonyms, are especially easy to mix up. The words “there, they’re, and their” are a prime example. Let’s break them down to their individual meaning.

there

This spelling means a place, a point of reference, or a point of action.

Using “there” in a sentence:

  • He is over there.
  • She stopped there for emphasis.
  • They were justified there.

they’re

This spelling is a contraction of “they are”. If you can change your sentence to include “they are” and still make sense, this spelling is your guy.

Using “they’re” in a sentence:

  • They’re walking to the store.
  • When they’re finished, we will go home.
  • They’re eating lunch in the park.

their

This spelling is the plural and gender-neutral form of the possessive pronouns, such as “his” and “her”.

Using “their” in a sentence:

  • Their dog’s name is Rex.
  • The students are writing their exams. (plural form)
  • The student is writing their exams. (gender-neutral form)

Now that you have your homonyms in order, go out and write that masterpiece!