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Difference between – There, Their and They’re (They are)

A very common mistake made by students of English while learning English is the difference between the words There, Their and They’re in written English. This mistake happens because these words sound the same and students, as well as native speakers, get confused with the context they are used while writing English. Now such words which sound the same but have completely different meanings are called Homophones in English.

Learn the difference There, Their & They’re –

There

There is the exact opposite of the words Here. It means something is far from you, but not here.

  • Where are my glasses?
  • They are over there on the table.

There is also used to show that something exists, or to express existence.

There are many students studying in this college.

Their

There is used to show possession, in other words, it expresses that something belongs to someone.

  • Their new apartment is big.
  • Their children are quite naughty.

They’re –

The word they’re is a contraction of They + are.

  • I think they’re crazy.
  • They’re talking so loudly in the library.

We hope you have cleared your confusion and know how to use these words correctly in written English.

Complete Lesson Transcription –

There? Their? Or they’re? Do you know these words, have you heard them before? What are these words called? They are so confusing. Have they been the cause of your trouble? These words are called homophones and today we are going to understand everything about them. Stay tuned with me Michelle and we are going to find out about there, their and they are.

Alright, so as I told you that these words are called homophones. So what are homophones? Homophones are words which have the same pronunciation but different spelling and different meanings. So we pronounce all of these as there but they all have different spellings as you can see and very different meanings. So I’m going to share with you the meanings for all of these words with certain examples.

Let’s look at the first example on the board. It’s over there or it’s over here. Where is the marker? The marker is over here but if I don’t have it in my hands, then the marker is over there. That means it’s far away. So there is an opposite of here, right now the marker is over here and there is the opposite of here. Where are your books? They are over there which means they are not near to you. However, if the books in your hand, they are over here. So this word talks about distance and how far something is from you but the same word can also express a different meaning. Remember we are talking about the same word. It has the same spelling and the same pronunciation. So let’s find out, what does the word there mean in the second sentence? There are many countries in Europe. Is it true? Are there many countries in Europe? Yes, there are. So this means that many countries exist in Europe. Here the word there is used to talk about something that exists, for something that exists. So there are many countries in Europe or there are many children in a family. They all exist in a family or there are many members of a family.

Now let’s move to the next word that we have, their. Their house is big. Does it mean the same as there? No, but we pronounce it the same way but it has a different meaning. Their house is big is talking about something that belongs to someone. So who does this house belong to? Possibly a family, John’s family. So John’s house is big. Instead of saying John’s house is big, you could say, their house is big when you’re talking about more than one person. If you’re talking only about John, you could say, his house is big, which is a possessive pronoun. The same way, their is also a possessive pronoun where you’re talking about something that belongs to someone, for belonging to someone. Think about the sentence, the children put their books in the bag. So who do the books belong to? The books belong to children. So here we are talking about belongingness. Did you notice something when I said this sentence, the children put their books in the bag. So what are books? This is a noun, the word books is a noun and how about the word, house, and this is also a noun. So I’m sure, you’re smart enough and you must have guessed that the word their, t-h-e-i-r is always used with a noun. It always comes before a noun.

Alright, now let’s look at the next sentence. I think they’re crazy. What does this mean? It just has a completely different spelling and we also have a strange thing here. I’m sure you know that this is called an apostrophe and this word is a contraction for they are. So they are, is contracted as they’re and it is used to talk about a group of people. Here we are talking about a group of people who we think are crazy and what about the word, crazy? So crazy is an adjective and you can use this contraction with an adjective, very often.

Let’s look at the next one. They are singing loudly. So as you’ve seen that this is a contraction for they are but now we do not have an adjective. Instead what is singing? Singing is a verb and not just a verb, it is a progressive verb because the action is going on. An ING shows that the action is continuing. So they are singing loudly, this sentence shows us that we can use this contraction, they’re either with an adjective or with a progressive verb that is, a verb that is going on. For example, they are playing. They are playing but remember that you’ll pronounce them all the same way. You don’t worry, you don’t have to worry about the pronunciation. It’s all there, their and they’re. So let’s get a little tricky and find out which of these words fills the correct blank in this sentence? Pause the video, take a minute and find out the correct answer.

Alright, I hope you must have found the answers for yourself but let’s check your answers. So this should be, they’re playing their video games over there. It’s all the same but not really. So, do you have the same answers or do you have any different answers? We have the word, they’re. this contraction because as I shared with you, that this contraction is usually used with a verb in the ING form and their video games because the video games belong to the boys or the girls over there which means they’re not here and the opposite of here is there and the group of people playing video games are there. They are not here.

Please click on the link at the end of the video and do a test for yourself to find out how much you’ve learnt. Thank you for staying with me, bye.

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