Friday, September 14, 2012

Get It Right: There, Their And They're

Despite each having its own distinct spelling, meaning and usage, people continually confuse these three words. Most people can explain the differences, and yet keep making the same mistakes. Are people too lazy to use their own language correctly?

Three words, three meanings.

We'll quickly explain how to tell the difference:


In, at or to a place. Are you talking about a place? Then it's "there" you want to talk about. You can also use "there" as an exclamation. So there!


This is when something belongs to "them". If you're talking about owning something or "having" something, this is the time to think of "their". It's possessive...


Why have an apostrophe? It's a contraction of "they" and "are" because English is a lazy language. If you get it wrong frequently consider pronouncing separately until you can wear your big-boy pants and attempt to use contractions.

These three words are classed as homophones as they are pronounced the same in most dialects.

Not that type of homophone!

Words that are written the same are homographs. There, their and they're are written differently and are therefore heterographs. They're not interchangeable and frankly we should stop putting so many homos and heteros in the same post before we get into trouble.

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