Distinguish Between There, Their, and They’re

Struggling with grammar can be frustrating and embarrassing. Our language is full of homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and are used differently) and that can make things pretty confusing from time to time. One of the most common grammatical errors is mistaking the difference between there, their, and they’re. If you use a few helpful tricks, identifying the differences between them can become a breeze.

First let’s dive into the meaning of each individual word:



This spelling of “there” refers to a location. The dictionary defines this word as “in, at, or to a place or position.” There is used as opposed to here. An easy way to remember is to look at the spelling. Take the sentence “He is not here.” Add a “t” to there word here and it will now read “He is not there.”


Example Sentences:

I used to live in a big house over there.

Have you ever been there?

Don’t go in there!



The word their is used for possession or association. The dictionary definition reads “belonging to or associated with people or things previously mentioned.” An easy way to remember “their” is possessive is to think about the “i” in the word as though it represents a person. Or, think about the word “heir.” An heir is someone who will inherit, and therefore possess things in the future. “Heir” is within the spelling of “their.”


Example Sentences:

The locket used to belong to their mom.

Is that red book theirs?

Her four dogs were busy eating their food.



Notice that this spelling of the word they’re contains an apostrophe. That is because it is a contraction of the words “they are.” It’s easy to remember that they’re represents two words if you think of the apostrophe like a dividing line between them. Or you can think of this formula: they + are = they’re.


Example Sentences:

They’re coming to the party later tonight.

Are you sure they’re not too tired?

Jane and Bob need to stop talking so loud, because they’re driving me crazy.


If you get stuck, here are some fun rhymes and tricks to help you remember how to tell there, their, and they’re apart.


Location: When you’re writing about WHERE, it’s not here, its always THERE.


Ownership: Once upon a time there was an HEIR, who lived inside the word THEIR.


Contraction: THEY + ARE = THEY’RE