Their, they’re or there?

in Back to basics

Ever wondered which to use when? Here’s a one-stop guide to these three.

There there

You use there whenever you’re referring to a place or a position.

For example:

Over there

We are going there for Christmas

If you’re thinking about anything to do with people or something belonging to people or things, you need one of the other two.

Their grasp of the matter was excellent

This is the equivalent of ‘his’ or ‘her’ when you’re referring to something that belongs to a group of people or things. For example:

It was their dog

The stars were shining brightly in their dark blue sky

Although it’s contentious, I think you can also use it when you want to be gender neutral and don’t want the awkwardness of saying ‘his and her’ or ‘his or her’. For example:

Anyone who loves reading will have their favourite book

They’re going to share what they’ve learned

If what you’re really saying is ‘they are’, you need ‘they’re’.

For example:

They’re going to the seaside (They are going to the seaside)

They’re going to love it (They are going to love it)

So there you go.

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