These three words are the cause of much grief, but it is simple to check whether you have the right one.
Their shows ownership. Their house, their story. Sometimes if there are more than one owner use theirs, eg that version of the story is theirs.
There is an adverb indicating place, such as the book is there. There is a place just like here, which is in the word to remind us. There’s is a short version of there is.
They’re is a shortened form of they are.
Simply make a substitution & see if you still have a sensible sentence. If you do, you have the correct form:
- If you have written there, substitute here. Example: Over there is a blue one.
- If you have written their, substitute our. Example: Their car is blue.
- If you have written they’re, substitute they are. Example: They’re the blue ones.
So if you’d written:
They’re car is blue.
To test it you would substitute they are, resulting in:
They are car is blue.
Which makes no sense.
And of course the title of this post is the punchline of an old joke.
How do you annoy a grammar pedant? Say …
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