There, Their, They’re – Using the Correct Form of There Will Get Their Attention When They’re Reading Your WorkApr 11
It is one of the easiest words to confuse in English writing; taking three separate forms all sounding the same with three very different uses from three different parts of writing.
We’ll Start With There
The word is an adverb, used to enhance a verb in regards to location. In a sentence if the verb begs the question: “in, at or to that place or position,” the appropriate enhancement to that verb is “there.” “We stayed there for three weeks.” “She will go in there.”
In some cases it may appear that “there” takes the place of a pronoun- where in the sentence above one could say “She will go in the cave,” but instead you have substituted an adverb as a pronoun— the word which replaces the noun— “She will go in there.”
In this instance, the word serves as both an adverb because it describes where the action of the verb is taking place, and it serves as a pronoun, informally replacing the noun to avoid repetition.
So let us take the pronoun and leap to the next version of the word.
“Their” Is a Possessive Pronoun
It is always used to replace two or more nouns in the sense of possession.
Instead of saying “That is Susie and Joe’s dog,” you could use “their” and say “That is their dog” or instead of saying “Please don’t touch Bobby and Amy’s painting it isn’t finished yet,” you would use their and say “Please don’t touch their painting it isn’t finished yet.”
“Their” is also used as a unisex possessive, when the gender of the owner is unclear. “Bob heard someone blowing their nose loudly.” “Their” is sometimes considered to be an adjective because of the way it is used to describe something. It replaces a noun and describes a second noun, serving the dual purpose of pronoun and adjective.
And the final word is not actually one word but two.
“They’re” Is a Contraction
The combination of the words they and are. The apostrophe replaces the ‘a’ in the word and brings the two words together and is used commonly to shorten the sentence. “They’re going on vacation” or “Please wait until they’re finished before clearing the table.”
That is all you really need to know in regards to the three different uses of that word. There will always be people who forget their ability to distinguish these words; and here is hoping they’re not submitting anything too professional.