There, Their, They're: Its Not So Hard

How many of you, and be honest, still have trouble deciding which is correct there, their, or they’re? I know from experience that many students, even adult ones, still struggle with this. Well, let me see if I can clarify the situation just a bit.


This is used to indicate a place or a location, where something goes or belongs.


The store down the street sold candy for a penny. Stan went there to buy some candy.

Mary dropped her books on the table and mother told her not to put them there.


This is a possessive. To be exact, the possessive form of they. It shows ownership or belonging.


Mark and Marion are going with mom and dad to the airport. Their grandmother is coming to town.


This is a contraction for they are. The apostrophe shows where the letter “a” has been left out.


The boys are straining to see out of the window, because they’re very excited to see the beach.

So, you say. I know that but how do I remember which one to use. Well, all you have to do is ask yourself these simple questions. First, say “they are” in the sentence and if it sounds right, then you want to use they’re, the contraction. If that doesn’t work, then let’s move on to their, the possessive, where you will ask yourself, am I talking about something someone owns or possesses. If the answer is yes, then you will use, their. Finally, if the answer to both of the above questions is no, then you will be using there, because you are talking about a place, location, or where something belongs.

Honestly, you can ask these questions in any order, for me, I have found that the order I asked them above is the best. Feel free to change the order though.

Now that you know the difference between them, you should have no trouble writing or understanding a sentence like this.

Their bicycles having flat tires, they’re going to have to walk there.

if (isMyPost) { }