There vs Their vs They’re – Learn The Difference

by Vincent — August 27th, 2020

What’s the difference between there vs their vs they’re? So, there is both an adverb and an exclamation. Their is a determiner. It can describe belonging to the people or things that were previously mentioned. They’re, on the other hand, is a contraction and is used to shorten “they are”.

Because they are pronounced the same but have different meanings, we call these words homophones. These words are often confused – even by native English speakers. So, how to tell the difference between there vs their vs they’re? In this IELTS Grammar 101, we’ll give you some tips on telling them apart. 

  • Difference between there, their and they’re
  • Synonyms of there, their and they’re 
  • Use there, their and they’re in a sentence 

Click each topic to learn more about the differences between there, their and they’re. 

There, their, or they’re: the difference

Is an adverb: A word that describes, gives more information about a verb, adjective, adverb or phrase. 

Is an exclamation: A word or sound used to display strong emotion. 


Is a determinerA modifying word that determines the kind of reference a noun or noun group has. 


Is a contraction: A shortened word, or two words combined with fewer letters. 

There, their, or they’re: the definitions
  • A word used to describe a place or position, or to attract attention to someone or something. It can also be used as a word to focus attention to someone or to comfort someone. 
  • word used to associate with people or things that were previously mentioned or can be easily identified. 
  • A shortened word for “they are”. 
There, their, or they’re: the synonyms
  • Could also mean (synonyms): near 
  • Synonyms include: belonging to them, belonging to others, he, her, they 
  • There’s no synonym for for this.
There, their, or they’re: in a sentence
  • Please put it over there. 
  • The snowfall out there is beautiful. 
  • There appears to be a mistake. 
  • There, I’ve fixed it for you. 
  • She gave them their books. 
  • One of the kids lost their lollipop. 
  • Someone forgot to lock their car. 
  • That’s their water bottle. 
  • They’re not free for dinner tonight. 
  • Did you know that they’re moving away? 
  • They’re my closest friends. 
  • Someone told me they’re here. 

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Watch: There, Their, They're explained
Read the transcript of this video on there vs their vs they’re

Hello. And welcome to this video on homophones. What is a homophone? A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same way as another but has a different meaning and often a different spelling. In this video I’ll be talking about the three different versions of “there” so that you know which one to use in which situation. 

First: There

First of all, we have this spelling THERE. This version tells us the location of something. A couple of examples would be: “Johnny’s going over there. And “stop right there. In the first example Johnny’s going to a particular location. And, in the second somebody’s been told to stop in their current location. 

Second: Their

Another spelling of there is this one THEIR. This version tells us that something belongs to somebody. An example of this would be: “It is their car.” This case tells us that the car belongs to somebody or a group of somebodies.

Third: They’re

Finally, there is this spelling THEY’RE. Now, this is what we call a contraction. And, the word contraction means to become smaller. In this case it refers to when two or more words are shortened. We then use an apostrophe to represent the missing letters. So, for this version there is a contraction of they are.” An example of this in a sentence would be: “They’re funny,” which basically means “they are funny.”  

Okay, so that’s all for this oneI hope it was useful. If you need more help with homophones maybe have a look at some of the other videos that I’ve made about them. You can go to the homophones playlist I‘ve put together by following this link. Thanks for watching. See you next time 

Want to learn more about commonly confused words? 

In written English, it is important to know the correct spelling of a word you want to use. You don’t want to write “weak” when you mean “week” even though they sound the same. In spoken English, spelling is less important, but pronunciation is. Think about the word “lead” which can be pronounced as “led” or “leed.” Because these words cause a lot of confusion, it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference: homophones vs homographs vs homonyms. Read more here. 

People often use elude when they mean allude, or write allude when they should really write elude. There are other commonly confused words too: Do you know the difference between belief or believe? That is the question of another article where we explain the difference between these two commonly misused words. Read it here. 


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