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.
Author:
Publish date:

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.

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

In this post, we look at what a palindrome is when it comes to writing, including several examples of palindromes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time to set a trap.

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

Children's author Christine Evans shares how repetition is good for growing readers and gives you the tools to write your story's perfect refrain.

From Our Readers

Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World: From Our Readers (Comment for a Chance at Publication)

This post announces our latest From Our Readers ask: Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World. Comment for a chance at publication in a future issue of Writer's Digest.