How to Use They&039re, There, and Their | Merriam-Webster

    homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings) can be tricky. There are three in particular that commonly confuse people. they are very complicated, in part due to their usefulness, which means we invoke them over and over again in our writings here and there.

    use of “there”

    and we’ll start there. that one has the floor here, which is helpful. may remind us that this one often has to do with location:

    there it is. Put it there. stay there. we will be there soon.

    it’s also about location in the most abstract sense:

    there you have it. That’s where we disagree. friends who are always there for you.

    it is also the one used as the first word in sentences that have the subject after the verb:

    There’s a nice hotel in town.

    y is the one used with the verb to be at the beginning of sentences and questions:

    There are many available. Is there a hotel in the city?

    The other two are more complicated because they both have the idea of ​​the plural in them. the key is to discern between the contraction of “they are” (they’re) and the possessive of “belong to them” (their).

    use of “are”

    they’re is a contraction meaning “they are”. You may recall that apostrophes indicate the possessive only when used with ‘s, such as “the writer’s thoughts.” otherwise it is usually a contraction of two words, as in can’t = can’t, or won’t = will not, or an omission of a letter or letters, as in singin’ for singer and ’em for they in stick it to them.

    they are (=are) funny people. they are (= are) the cutest puppies out there.

    can also be used for non-living things:

    they are (=are) both really good books. are (=are) two of our biggest problems.

    “your” use

    the last of this trio, their, is the possessive form of them, so it has to do with what belongs to, relates to, or is made or made by certain people, animals or things:

    it’s his house. we are your neighbors. the trees are losing their leaves.

    his also has a long history of use as a singular pronoun. associate editor emily brewster explains its use in this video.

    and there you go. They are not an easy word group, but with practice we know you can master their distinctions.

    in summary: is the most common. you have the floor here, which is helpful because it’s often about location. they’re always means “they are”. their is the possessive form of they.

    want more confusing words?

    ‘then’ vs. ‘what’

    ‘who’ versus ‘who’

    ‘affection’ vs. ‘effect’

    ‘further’ vs. ‘farther’

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