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ELC - English Language Center Santa Barbara
Confusing Words June 10th, 2019

They’re, there, & their .

These can be confusing to use, but read on and you will be using them correctly in no time…

they’re = they are

Use “they are” or the contraction “they’re” in place of the subject and verb of your sentence. It is always used with plurals (people or things).

Example: They’re going to the party with us on Friday.

They’re eating in the student lounge right now.

They’re here so we can leave now.

their

“Their” is a possessive adjective so a noun will follow it. The noun which follows can be singular, plural, or non-count.

Example: Their homework was very difficult so they couldn’t do it.

I was excited to see who their baby looked more like, the mother or the father.

They wanted to eat their lunches outside since it was such a nice day.

there

“There” can function as a pronoun or as an adverb. As a pronoun, it will begin a sentence followed by a “be” verb to point out a person/people or thing(s).

Example: There is a boy sitting alone at the table in the corner.

There are many people at the movie theater because it is Saturday night.

There was a cute dog in the park yesterday.

There were too many people in the subway this morning during rush hour.  

As an adverb, it means “in or at that place” or “the opposite of here.”

Example: She is sitting over there.

Stay there because I am heading in your direction now.

Please put your suitcases there on not on the bed.

There are many ways to use these special words. They’re confusing for many people, but their meanings can be cleared up with a little effort!

 
 
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