There, Their, They're

There

Possibly the most common of the wrongly positioned word-sets in the English language is the misuse of there, their and they're. We've all read, "John and Mavis were happy with there newly adopted mongoose". Wrong.

There points to a physical or abstract location; "I want you to move over there"; "I am looking forward to heaven - it will be great there". The word there can also be used with the verb to be in its various forms: "there is more than one way to skin a hamster"; "there will be trouble if you use the word so at the start of a sentence".

Their

Their is a possessive adjective and indicates ownership of a noun: "they celebrated their anniversary at McDonalds"; "they went there to declare their love for each other; they were sick to their stomachs for days".

They're

They're is simply a contraction of the two words they and are. In informal writing and speech it feels more comfortable than the original words might: "They're getting away captain" sounds like Scotty; "They are getting away" sounds like a Dalek. If you want people to read your writing and truly hear your voice then you'll use contractions. However, don't use contractions in formal writing where you're trying to create a professional feel. When I'm writing for others my first question is always "What "voice" do you want the piece written in?" To rewrite a sentence from above:

"However, do not use contractions in a sentence where you are trying to create a professional feel,"

It just shows how unnatural our own language can sound if we remove contractions.

Tasks 0/2 completed
1. Learn the correct use for each word
2. Check all of your editable work for mistakes.


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christine2 Premium
I will leave now, because I am constantly picking up grammar and spelling mistakes in others, as well as on the news, in newspapers, in books, on the radio...
Not that mine is perfect, but I must have had VERY GOOD TEACHERS as I was painfully and deliberately acquiring English as my second language...I would never have had the guts to put anything up as training but I find it hilarious and can only commend you, Paul.I feel like I have found a soul mate griping about the same thing. I hope you have given a tutorial on my pet hate: the misuse of the words to lay and to lie. My patients always tell me they were laying down...their life, perhaps? And working in Ashton-under - Lyne near Manchester one of my patients proceeded to tell me: "I were just eating me tea, when..."
Coming from South Africa I never thought that i would need an interpreter for English, but there I did!
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Paul Dean Premium
In Manchester (as elsewhere in England) people will happily admit to being "sat in front of the telly". I never occurs to them that by the same grammatical rules they should "get up and go for a walked". People seem particularly poor at tenses.

When ever I hear the word "sat" on telly I shout the word "sitting!" My wife just sighs.

I'll try to do "me" and "I" tomorrow, along with the correction to "me and him went out".
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mrbill74 Premium
I'm forever correcting my girlfriend's comments, and it's reached the point where I simply brace myself after doing so--I KNOW she's going to smack me! These comments here remind me of a grammar course I enjoyed while still at AT&T. By the end of class, we came to three resolute conclusions:

1) It's not 'Lay Lady Lay', it's 'Lie Lady Lie';
2) It's not 'Lay Down, Sally', it's 'Lie Down, Sally'; and
3) It's not 'I Feel Good!', but 'I Feel Well'.

I may not have used the proper punctuation above, but this discussion is about grammar, right? :-)
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speedking Premium
Hi Christine, good to hear from a fellow South African and great to meat up with you at WA ! I'm very new to all of this, but having a lot of fun doing it .Paul reminds me of one of my English teachers way back when in 'lekka" ol' SA.........keep up the good work Paul , there's always something new to learn.
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RandyKR Premium
You should try to don' t lett it buggya so much.
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teacup Premium
Another one that bothers me is the misuse of the words I and me. Please clarify for those who obviously don't know any better.
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mamalama Premium
As a home-school mom, I deal with grammar issues pretty regularly but I didn't have the guts to create grammar lessons for the WA community. This is a great service to many. Thanks a lot!
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jespinola Premium
Interesting.. I will check my grammar :)
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techhound Premium
Hey Paul, great lesson. How about "Yore" being added to the last section? LOL.

Best Regards,
Jim
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Paul Dean Premium
I'll do "yore" when I do "y'all". (No I won't).
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techhound Premium
LOL. Nice!
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