Readability tips, literacy news, and English writing advice

They're, Their and There

Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, even local and national news articles - mistakes are everywhere. When you come to misuse of these three simple words, don't you want to scream? For many readers, incorrect choice of these everyday words causes writers to immediately lose a sense of legitimacy with their readers, no matter how important the message may be.

"They're" means "they are." Period. It is a contraction.

Example: They're not going to want to hear this, but choosing the right words matter.

Ask yourself, can I use the words "they are" to replace the contraction? If not, move on to another option.

"Their" is a possessive pronoun. It comes from the word they. It always shows ownership of a noun.

Example: Writers must choose their words carefully when sharing their ideas.

Ask yourself, do I mean to show possession? If not, and the word is also not meant to mean "they are," you most likely need to use the third choice.

"There" is a place, point, or interjection. If you do not intend to say "they are" or show possession, this is the word to go to.


Please put the newspaper over there.

There was nothing left to do after the deadline passed.

There, I told you she could complete the assignment!

So please. For grammar lovers and readers everywhere, know the difference.