Their | There | They’re

We at First Academy have the fortune of learning on the job. As teachers of English, we are naturally among the first to encounter the most common mistakes people make and encounter them on a regular basis. The one mistake that usually takes the cake is the difficulty most people face in understanding the difference between there, they’re (they are) and there.

Here is a short primer on what these words mean and how to use them correctly. Be it IELTS or PTE or CELPIP or any other English test where you are tested on writing skills, this distinction becomes important.

Read on!

We use there to talk about things existing or happening:

There is a book on the table.

There was applause when India won the world cup.

We also use it to talk about places, especially to say where something is:

The ticket office is over there.

‘Where is did we park the car?’ ‘There!’

‘Do you like Kiev?’ ‘I’ve never been there.’

In technical terms, Their is a possessive adjective. It talks about something that belongs to a group things or people:

Sangeetha and Bharati looked at their wallets. (the wallets belong to them)

Please put the pens back in their boxes.

What are there names? | What are their names?

They’re is a short form of they are:

They’re all going to the exhibition.

‘Where are the cups?’ ‘They’re in the cupboard.’

I like the glasses because there colourful. | I like the glasses because they’re (they are) colourful.

There are some other similar words that cause confusion. Who’s and Whose and You’re and Your.

We will look at them in another blog post!



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