Using the Homophones There, They’re, and Their Correctly

As all writers know, having good grammar skills is essential for good, clear writing. However, it seems that despite spell check and grammar check on word processing programs mistakes still abound on the internet and, unfortunately, even in some published journals and books. So relying entirely on built-in correction programs to do our proofing may not always be the best idea. Not to mention that auto correct is not always so correct.

I’m going to cover a subject that is one of my biggest grammar mistake pet peeves, the misuse of homophones. It’s becoming more and more obvious to me each day as I read social media updates, webpages, and really, most anything, that most of the English-speaking population was apparently absent from school the day homophones & contractions were taught. Besides the chronic misuse of “your” for “you’re” people also regularly use the wrong form of there, they’re, and their. So today, I’m going to go over the correct usage of these words.

The word there is an adverb used to indicate a particular place or position of a person or object. Examples of use: “Our car is parked over there.” “We are going there tomorrow.” Or, “Hello there!”

The word their is a possessive pronoun that shows ownership. Example: “Their car broke down yesterday on their way home.”

The word they’re is a contraction combining the words they and are. Example: “They are going to the beach in a week.” Or “They’re going to the beach in a week.”

This concludes another grammar lesson segment. I hope this will help make your writing easier and clearer. Happy writing!


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