|Grammatically Correct 03/23/05
A weekly grammar tip created by Academic Center Peer Writing Tutors.
University of Houston-Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, TX 77901
|When to use Their, There, They’re,
by John Davis
|The words their, there, they’re,
and there’re can
be confusing since they all sound the same. Words that sound the same but
have different spellings and meanings are called homophones. Be careful
when typing your documents in a word processing program such as MS Word
or WordPerfect since these types of programs have spell checkers that
merely determine whether or not the word is spelled correctly, not whether
it is the correct word. As always, in
order to be sure that the correct
used, it is necessary
to reread the document completely or have someone else read it to check
for spelling and word errors.
Let’s go over the uses of the words in question.
Their: this word is a possessive pronoun that denotes that something belongs to more than one person or group.
Example: The Chinese are very proud of their heritage.
They’re: This is a combination of the words “they” and “are.” Typically this word is used to specify what a group is doing.
Example: They’re going to Disneyworld for the summer.
There: This word denotes a place. Tip: you may need to identify the place in the same sentence that the word “there” is used. The place will at least need to be identified in a previous sentence so that the reader will know which place the word “there” is referring to.
Example: After agreeing about the quality of the food at Red Lobster, the couple finally decided they would go there.
There’re: this is a contraction of “there are.” Quite frankly, you should probably avoid using it for formal or professional papers. Your readers will probably view it as an odd contraction and you may lose credibility as a result. It can be used in less formal assignments or artistic prose such as short stories, dialogue, or poetry.
Example: The woodsman gave the ominous yet comical warning “There’re bars in dem woods.”
|Recommended Grammar Website of the Week
by John Davis
For more information about using these words, you can
view the University of Michigan’s page at http://www.emich.edu/styleguide/theirthere.htm.
Another website uses an interesting song that may help you remember the rules for using their, they're, and there. It's available at http://suzyred.com/there.html.
|Test Your Knowledge
by John Davis
|Test your knowledge:
Determine which word should be used in the blank space in the sentence.
1) Many Enron employees lost ________ retirement savings when the company
1) Many Enron employees lost their retirement savings when the company
Comments about this newsletter should be directed to Summer Leibensperger, firstname.lastname@example.org.