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There, Their and They’re: Explained

There, Their and They’re, sentences, examples

Ирина Пономарева (Irina Ponomareva)

“Their dog is there and they’re walking it.”

there their

If you read this sentence out you will surely understand the confusion between the three forms.

This is an important lesson for many English learners. The first thing to say: Don’t worry about making mistakes. They are necessary on the road to mastering a language.

The differences between these three forms are even difficult for English native speakers. You will often see these words confused in their work and in their daily lives.

The reason that mistakes happen in this case is that they are all pronounced in a very similar way. It is easy to get mixed up here.

Before we get into the detail, remember that “they” is the third person plural pronoun. You would use this when speaking about a group of people that doesn’t include yourself. For example, “They are going swimming, but I’m staying here.” You also employ this form to talk about inanimate objects. For example, “They are all very interesting books.”

Here is a brief summary of the differences between there, their and they’re:


“There” is an adverb that tells you that something is present. It also tells you that something is in or at a place. You could say something like “He is there at the moment.” It is also used as a pronoun when you are saying something like: “There is still the chance that it will happen.”  


“Their” is used as a possessive form in the third person plural. Any group of people that you would define with the pronoun “they” can be used with the possessive form of “their”.

For example, you could say “They wanted their money back.” Nowadays we are also using this form for the third person singular possessive form. This due to the fact that it is gender neutral and does not require you to make presumptions.

For example: “The writer made their point very well.”


They’re” is used as a contracted form for “they are”. It is a good idea to employ this form as you can make your language look more natural. For example, you could say “They’re going to the bank to get some money.”

Again, it is not a crime to mix these forms up.

It can be difficult to remember the differences when you aren’t a native speaker. Try to practice these regularly with simple fill in the gap exercises and you will be using them perfectly in no time.

They say that practice makes perfect, and with the English language this is very true. It is often the smallest details that help you to sound more natural and more like a native speaker in language and these three forms are great examples of that.