There, Their, They’re | Difference & Example Sentences

Their, there, and they’re are pronounced similarly but don’t have the same meaning. You can recognise which one is correct from the context.

  • There is most commonly used to mean ‘at that point’ or ‘in that place’.
  • Their is the possessive form of the third-person plural pronoun ‘they’. It means ‘belonging to them’.
  • They’re is a shortened version of ‘they are’.
Examples: ‘There’ in a sentence Examples: ‘Their’ in a sentence Example: ‘They’re’ in a sentence
There’s not much left to say after this fight. Ann and Paul studied for their exam. They’re working on a new school project.
Don’t go there! Joe’s aunt and uncle have asked him to feed their cats while they are away. They’re from York.

Uses of ‘there’

There is a very frequently used word in English, usually meaning something like ‘in that place’ (as opposed to ‘here’: ‘in this place’). The table below summarises the various uses of the word.

Part of speech Function Example
Adverb Meaning ‘in/at/to that place’ or ‘at that point in time’ Steve wants to go there on his holidays.

She stopped there and looked at her phone.

Pronoun Used to introduce a word or clause

Used as an indefinite substitute for someone’s name

There is going to be trouble tonight.

Hello there.

Noun Meaning ‘that place or position’ or ‘that point’ It is neither here nor there.

I’ll prepare the food, and you can take it from there.

Adjective Used to provide emphasis

Meaning ‘capable of being relied on for help’

Grab that book there.

I’ll be there for you if you need me.

Interjection Used to express feelings of relief, approval, encouragement, and consolation There! The job is done.

There, I knew you could do it.

There, that’s it.

There, there, it will be okay.

Note
There is a word with many different functions. If you struggle to remember the difference between there, their, and they’re, it’s best to remember that their and they’re each have only one meaning if neither of those meanings fits, you definitely need there.

‘Their’ (possessive)

Their is the possessive form of the third-person plural pronoun ‘they’. It means ‘belonging to them’ and is used to modify a noun.

Example: ‘Their’ in a sentence
  • Residents must park their cars in the allocated parking spots.
  • That’s their problem, not ours!

Though originally plural, ‘their’ is often used instead of ‘his or her’ in instances where the gender of a person is unknown or irrelevant. This is particularly common in conversation and informal writing, but it’s now also recommended in academic styles like APA Style.

 ‘They’re’ (contraction of ‘they are’)

They’re is a contraction (a shortened version) of ‘they are’. In academic writing, contractions are considered too informal, so you should always write ‘they are’ in full in an academic text.

Example: ‘They’re’ in a sentence
  • They’re going to Sasha’s party tonight.
  • I don’t know whether they’re planning on visiting this weekend.

Worksheet: Their or there or they’re

You can test your understanding of the difference between ‘their’, ‘there’, and ‘they’re’ with the worksheet below. Fill in ‘their’, ‘there’, or ‘they’re’ in each sentence.

  1. The students raise ______ hands when they want to ask questions.
  2. We can drive ______ if you like, but it would be faster to fly.
  3. Hand me that tool ______, Jana.
  4. ______ is no evidence to support ______ theory.
  5. ______ in ______ final year of college.
  6. The kids are with ______ aunt and uncle, but I’m not sure how long ______ going to stay ______.
  1. The students raise their hands when they want to ask questions.
    • ‘Their’ is the possessive form of the third-person plural ‘they’. It means ‘belonging to them’.
  1. We can drive there if you like, but it would be faster to fly.
    • In this instance, ‘there’ is an adverb meaning ‘to that place’.
  1. Hand me that tool there, Jana.
    • In this instance, ‘there’ is used as an adjective for emphasis.
  1. There is no evidence to support their theory.
    • In this instance, ‘there’ is used as a pronoun to introduce a clause. ‘Their’ identifies the theory as belonging to someone.
  1. They’re in their final year of college.
    • ‘They’re’ is a contraction of ‘they are’ used in conversation or informal writing. ‘Their’ is a possessive referring to the same ‘they’ from earlier in the sentence.
  1. The kids are with their aunt and uncle, but I’m not sure how long they’re going to stay there.
    • In this example, all three words are used: first ‘their’ (the kids’), then ‘they’re’ (they are), then ‘there’ (at their aunt and uncle’s home).
Is this article helpful?
Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.

Still have questions?

Please click the checkbox on the left to verify that you are a not a bot.