There vs Their – Explanation:
There vs Their. Why do these words have the same pronunciation, but do not mean the same thing? Many English language learners make this common mistake of using “there” in place of “their” and using “their” when they mean to use “there”.
I know, it gets confusing. It is because in the English language, we have homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings or spelling) that confuse the learners.
How would you answer this question?
What are the boys playing? Where are they?
You might say, “The boys are playing with their toy cars, and they are there, in the toy room.”
I have seen many students and adults misuse “there” and “their”. Oftentimes, I read a sentence like this, “I was right their,” when the student means to write, “I was right there.”
To avoid making this common English grammar mistake, English language learners need to know the difference between “there” and “their” so that they use the correct word when writing.
There vs Their – Correct Usage:
Use Of “There” With Examples:
“There” is an adverb of place. It means “away from, or not with the speaker”. It shows that something or someone is at a certain place that is not close to the speaker. “There” always shows a place, whether it is concrete or abstract. In other words, “there” is the opposite of “here”.
Sam: Where are your new books?
Jack: My new books are over there, not here.
Sam: Why have you not informed me about your location yet?
Jack: Wait a minute, I have not reached there yet.
Sam: Are you there?
Jack: Yes, I am here.
Sam: Have you parked your car here?
Jack: Yes, I have parked my car right here.
Sam: Don’t park it here. Park it there.
Jack: You mean, there? Okay, I will park it there.
There is another use of “there”, which highlights the existence of something or someone.
The books are right there on the bookshelf.
There are many pencils in Sam’s pencil case.
There are eight planets in our solar system.
Do you know there are more than 30,000 species of snakes in the world?
Use Of “Their” With Examples:
“Their” is the possessive pronoun. “Their” shows belonging or possession meaning that something belongs to someone. We use “their” when we want to refer to something that others own or possess. We use it as a plural possessive pronoun meaning that something belongs to more than one person. Sometimes, we also use “their” in place of his and her when we cannot or do not want to specify the gender of the person.
Let me verify their IDs.
Kids like their new shoes.
I have not seen their old sneakers.
Let them polish their public speaking skills.
Why are they shouting at the top of their lungs?
“There” always answers the question, “where” referring to a place away from the speaker or hints at the existence of something.
“Their” is used with a noun showing its possession.
There vs Their – Conclusion:
“There” shows the place or location of something, and “their” shows that something belongs to someone.
Here is a graphic that may help you remember when to use “there” and “their”.
Bonus: Download this FREE ‘There vs. Their’ practice sheet.
Suggested Books To Learn Grammar:
To up your grammar game, here are five most popular books for you to improve your English grammar:
- Practical English Usage
- Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English
- An A-Z of English Grammar & Usage
- The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
- English Grammar in Use Book with Answer
I am sure now you know when to use ‘there’ and ‘their’. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.