The difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”

Today, March 4 is National Grammar Day and I like  to post this common mistake that I see a lot of times. National Grammar Day was established in 2008 by Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar. I have noticed some young people do not care much about grammar since they communicate by text message and that is another language unto itself. But it will behoove them to learn the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”. They are simple enough to learn.


“Their” is an adjective meaning belonging to them.

  • This is their car.
  • Their house is located near the lake.
  • The children have their toys in the garage.

 “There” pertains to a location.

  • An alligator was seen over there.
  • I placed the box there to keep it out of the way.
  • Did you say you are from New York? I came from there too.

“They’re” is a contraction of “They are”.

  • They’re going to the park.
  • They’re both seniors.
  • They’re designing the new garden.

I grew up outside the United States and I only learned English in school. English was not spoken at home. I learned the difference of these three words in school where we were drilled on grammar lessons by my English teacher. This is an important issue not only for writers but for everyone. It’s sad to see some young people do not know them. For writers, this is a critical issue since it shows how professional you are or not, not only in your books but also in your marketing materials. It is terrible to see these simple mistakes in print. So if grammar isn’t your thing, seek help from a professional copyeditor before your book goes to print. I seek someone to edit my work before I publish anything. Another set of eyes is a good thing!


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