Grammar 101: They're, There and Their

Last Update: Jun 22, 2022

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Grammar 101: They're, There and Their


A Few Simple Rules Are All You Need

There's no doubt that, in its entirety, English grammar is complex, especially for someone learning English as a second language.


If you're a native English speaker and just want to avoid common grammatical errors in your writing (such as blog posts on your website) there are only a handful of rules that you need to memorize.

So this series of posts is for those who'd like to ditch the Grammarly crutch and just know what's right and what's not.

Here's the third one:

They're, There and Their

Although more complex that the previous ones I've covered, because there's three of them, this may be all you need to remember:

"See the family over there? They're getting into their car."

Just like "it's" and "you're", "they're" is an abbreviation. It's short for "they are". So just substitute "they are" for "they're" and ask yourself does it make sense.

So in the previous sentence, "they're getting into their car" reads "they are getting into their car", which is obviously correct.

"their", on the other hand, is a possessive. It's the plural version of "his" and "her" and will always be followed by the thing being owned. So "his car", "her car" and "their car".

"there" is for everything else. Most of the time, it's geographic. It refers to the place where something is. For example, "it's over there", "there it is, underneath the table".

It can also be part of an abbreviation, as in "there's a cafe a block from here".

And used to comfort someone, "there, there, you'll feel better tomorrow".

So if it's not an abbreviation for "they are" and it's not owning something, use "there".

I hope this helps.

Recent Comments


Good on ya! So many people mess these up.

They certainly do, Fran.

I like your example:

"See the family over there? They're getting into their car."

And just for fun, here's a goofier one along the same lines

"See those three dogs over there? They're playing with their sticks."

Wonderful, Rosana. Though you did have me worried for a moment.

Where They're is They are.
Nice to hear from you, Roz.

Thanks, Phil.
Paul from Canada.

I daresay I could be even goofier! But I would hate to worry you.

You're welcome, Paul.

I'm sure you could, Rosana.

No Worries.

Paul Mindra.

Cheers, mate.
What part of the world are you in now?

I trust things are well.
I just renewed my annual membership here again at WA.

Long Term

No worries.

Paul from Canada.

I concur to be of the same opinion;
I agree.


Thanks, Paul. I'm in Australia. It's like Canada, but warmer.

Can't help myself. Here is another dog one, all too true to life!

"See those two dogs over there in my yard? They're waiting for an excuse to use their voices to bark at other dogs they can hear in the neighborhood. They'll also bark at passersby."

Remain awesome Rosana.

Thanks so much for these, Rosana. They make my day. You worked "they'll" into it as well. I take it those two (not to or too, that's yet to come) lovely brown and whites are really your dogs?

She is, isn't she, Paul?

Yes indeed, they're my dogs! Well, mine and my husband's. We had a cat too. She bossed the dogs around for years before dying of old age .

Lovely. I've had cats and dogs who were absolutely best friends.

Thanks, Phil. There's always room for improvement when it comes to grammar.


Hope you're enjoying the posts, Alex.

I am enjoying them immensely.


That's good to know.

Hi there,

Thanks Professor,

Now we don't have to do research.

Very nice posts. There's no posts that level up to yours.

Of course, you can check to see if there is one.

This deserves a screenshot.


Thanks, Rachele. You're very kind.

If you ever want an ESL job in Vietnam, call me. 📞 lol.


Haha. Thanks, Stephen. Actually, I did consider doing that (teaching ESL overseas) some years ago but never followed through.

You would be surprised at what you can make as a school owner and even ESL teachers are a pretty happy lot.
And you would be unpleasantly shocked at the lack of grammar skills by some “teachers”. It is sad when you see the Vietnamese teachers correcting the “native” ESL teachers, Monday mornings are a prime time for mistakes,lol.

Unfortunately, most adults alive today went through schooling that believed teaching correct grammar and spelling adversely affected creativity.

Luckily their math skills are just as poor. Otherwise they would see how much it has cost them.

Good point.

Which part did you not understand.

I wondered that too.

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