Battle of the Words: Their versus There (with special guest They’re)

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Grammar Rx: Whenever you’re trying to decide between using Their and There, keep these tips in mind.

→The word Their is a possessive pronoun—always. Use it to indicate plural ownership. “My roommates never clean their rooms.” or “My parents love their new home.”

→The word There usually refers to location. Use it to indicate where something is. “My backpack is over there, by the trashcan.”

→There can also be used with a linking verb to form a phrase: “There is nothing worse than bad sushi.”  or  “There are many empty cups on the floor of my apartment.”

→Finally, we have the contraction They’re, which simply means They are. Use it only when you want to say They are (and keep in mind that contractions can make your writing sound less formal): “Mark and Anissa are coming with us. Do you know then they’re supposed to arrive?” To test this usage, simply replace the contraction with they are and be sure it makes sense.

Need a higher dose of these usage tips? Check out these interactive exercises brought to you by Grammar Bytes:

  1. Their, There, They’re
  2. Their, There, They’re

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  1. Pingback: Battle of the Words: Affect versus Effect | The StraighterLine Advisor

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