Their, there now.

Posted on Nov 27, 2011 | 0 comments

Or is it “they’re there”?

They’re, there and their are homonyms: they sound alike but have different meanings and spellings. How do you keep them straight? (Or is it strait?)

Consider how the word is being used and think about what can be substituted for it. This will guide you as you’re spelling.

  • They’re: the contraction of “they are.” If you can substitute “they are” in your sentence, use “they’re.”
  • There: either a place (“We went there.”) or a pronoun that stands in for an ensuing noun (“There is a reason.”). If you can substitute “here” and your sentence still makes sense, use “there”—and remember, there’s a “here” in “there.”
  • Their: the possessive case of “they.” It’s a pronoun that modifies a noun, so it functions as an adjective (“Their [hats/memories/regrettable behavior] …”). If you can substitute “our,” use “their.”