Their, There, They're

Last week’s Mindful Monday Tip was about the commonly, but mistakenly interchanged words, you’re and your.  Similarly, their, there, and they’re are words that I see people mix up frequently. 

Their, (which is a fun one because it also breaks the, “i before e except after c" rule), is a pronoun and is used as the possessive form of they, meaning something belongs to someone previously identified.  For example, “John and Jane left their car running.”  It can also be used in place of his or her when the masculine or feminine forms are unknown.  “Someone left their car running.” 

There actually has various uses, but is most commonly used as an adverb.  It can refer to a place, a point in an action, or a particular manner.  There can also be used as a pronoun, a noun, an adjective, or an interjection.  A little confusing, right?  Don’t worry, it’s much simpler than it sounds.  Here are some examples that will help clear up any uncertainty:   

There as an adverb:  “We are there.”  “She stopped there to reflect on what they just discussed.”  “I can understand why he got confused there.”

There as a pronoun:  There is no hope.” 

There as a noun:  “You’re on your own from there.”

There as an adjective:  “See that tree there?”

There as an interjection:  There!  This list is finally done!”     

If you’re still a little unclear, the easiest thing to do is remember when to use their and they’re, and then just use there in all other instances. 

I’ve left they’re for last because I think it’s the easiest to remember since it’s the only contraction of the three and has just one simple meaning:  they are.  They’re going on a road trip.” 

If you tend to confuse these three words, be sure to bookmark this Mindful Monday Tip so you can refer back whenever you need to!