Their vs. There

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Their vs. There

Their and There are homophones that are used in very different situations. Their is used to determine the possessor of something while There is most commonly used to indicate something that is at a distance. As homophones, they sound identical yet have very different spellings and meanings.

Their

The possessive determiner of the collective pronoun, “They” is - their. In that case, anything that belongs to the third person plural entity or them would be deemed “their”.

  • Their house. (A house that belongs to them)
  • Their idea. (An idea that belongs to them

Their as a possessive determiner is always followed by a noun or noun phrase and it can be used at the beginning, middle, or end of the sentences - 

… Their + noun … 

The examples below can help clarify -

  • Their father is no easy man to please. (Correct)
  • There father is no easy man to please. (Incorrect) 
  • I am rather worried about their management skills. (Correct)
  • I am rather worried about there managements skills.  (Incorrect) 
  • Are you sure their meals have been delivered in time?  (Correct)
  • Are you sure there meals have been delivered in time? (Incorrect) 

There

The opposite for “here” would be “there”. It is primarily used to refer to something specific at a distance and a gesture towards the thing concerned can often accompany the remark. There are a number of ways the word There is used in the English language. As for parts of speech, it can be used as an adverb, a pronoun, a noun, an interjection, and an adjective per necessity. 

  • There is the toy car you wanted. (Correct)
  • Their is the toy car you wanted. (Incorrect) 

Different usages to fit different situations - 

  • I was there only to support you.              (Adverb There)
  • Hi there, little one!                                 (Pronoun There)
  • Let’s take it from there.                          (Noun There)
  • There, it’s done and dusted!                    (Interjection There)
  • I know you are always there for me.        (Adjective There)
  • There is something I need to express.      (Expletive There

Their vs. There

Being homophones, these two can cause a fair share of confusion while following a speech. However, since they often sound the same, checking the spelling or the sentence structure becomes the only two ways that separate the two. 

Thanks to the broad spectrum of situations and sentence structures, There can be used in the homophone that’s confusing is more often than not is “There” and not “Their”. 

A good trick for new learners can be to check if the “There/their” sound has an accompanying noun following it since i is the only occasion when it is “Their” and not “There” like - Their music (noun) is groovy. 

Let’s take a look at significant differences side by side in a table - 

Key Points Their There
Pronunciation (IPA) /ðeə(r)/ /ðeə(r)/
Parts of Speech Possessive Determiner Adverb, Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Interjection
Sentence Integration Always followed by Nouns Wide variation of integrations
In sentence example I’m here as their bodyguard. Do we have to go there today?

 

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