Skip to main content
Publish date:

Their vs. There vs. They're (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use their, there, and they're with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Writing about you're, your, and yore last week inspired me to write about a similar set of homophones this week: Their, there, and they're. Once again, we have a contraction and a possessive adjective, along with a very flexible positional word.

(Grammar rules for writers.)

So let's jump into this post about their, there, and they're.

Their vs. There vs. They're (Grammar Rules)

Their vs. There vs. They're

To begin, their is a possessive adjective that relates to "them" or "themselves," whoever they are. Repeating last week's example: If I owned a baseball, it would be my baseball. But if they owned a baseball, it would be their baseball.

There, meanwhile, is an incredibly flexible word that is at times an adverb, pronoun, noun, and adjective. It is usually used in a positional or relational way, as in "sit over there" or "take it from there," though it can also be used as a word to indicate emphasis, reliability, and/or conscious.

(10 Ways to Start Your Story Better.)

Finally, they're is a contraction of the words "they" and "are."

Make sense?

Here are a few examples of their, there, and they're:

Correct: Their radio is too loud.
Incorrect: There radio is too loud.
Incorrect: They're radio is too loud.

Correct: There is a good chance it will rain today.
Incorrect: Their is a good chance it will rain today.
Incorrect: They're is a good chance it will rain today.

Correct: They're happy to be home.
Incorrect: Their happy to be home.
Incorrect: There happy to be home.

Correct: They're allowed to play their music down there.

When it comes to keeping these straight, the apostrophe in they're is an easy reminder that it's two words (or they are). This might be a stretch, but I like to think of there as a positional indicator when I'm asked where something is? So I use the -here to connect those two words in my mind. Which then leaves the possessive their for them (again, whoever they are).

*****

Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

Click to continue.

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

A career behind the curtain helped Amy Neswald in creating her own stories. Here, the author shares 3 things being a broadway wig master taught her about storytelling.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let things get a little out of control.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 14th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

After an intense writing challenge, you might feel a little lost. Here are some tips from Managing Editor and fellow Wrimo Moriah Richard for capitalizing on your momentum.

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Ian Douglas discusses how he incorporated implausible conspiracy theories to uncover the truth in his new science fiction novel, Alien Hostiles.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 589

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a yesterday poem.

Revenge

Revenge

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about revenge.

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Critically acclaimed author Peter Fiennes discusses his quest to find hope in his new travel/Greek mythology book, A Thing of Beauty.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 30

For the 2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a The End and/or The Beginning poem.