By Miranda Carter
Homonyms are common throughout the English language. They are words that sound the same but have different meanings (and, sometimes, different spellings). Their, they’re, and there are often mixed up, even by native English speakers when they’re writing fast or they aren’t thinking too much. Using the wrong form of the word can lead to confusion and, simply, poor grammar. Let’s learn the difference between these words to avoid future mistakes!
There: in or at that place. The book is there, on the table.
Their: a form of the possessive case of they, used as an adjective before a noun. Their books are on the table.
They’re: contraction of “they are.” They’re on the table.
Tip: When using their, their, or they’re in a sentence, think before you write – Are you talking about a place? Use there. Are you referring to a possession belonging to two or more people? Use their. Do you actually mean to say “they are”? Use they’re. Here are some practice sentences. Complete each sentence using there, they’re, or their. Good luck!
You can do this quiz online here.
1. ________ going to the park later this afternoon.
2. I thought I left my purse in this room. It should be right ________!
3. They never thought ________ dog would win the dog show award.
4. We can go to a different store, but we might not find anything ________.
5. The Arkins are thinking about selling _________ house.
6. I hate having to wait for Joe and Joel. ___________ always late.
7. _________ is a bicycle shed behind the house where you can place your bike.
8. I’m going to see my friends acting in a play. _________ acting is great!
9. Benjamin and Arlene didn’t come to the picnic, because _________ car broke down.
10. I don’t know where Mr and Mrs Khan are going for the weekend. __________ not staying home, that’s for sure.
And now that we’re at it, let’s also have a look at Your and You’re! Same kind of problem. Even native speakers sometimes make mistakes with your and you’re when they’re head is somewhere else when their writing. Uh-oh!! I just made two mistakes in my last sentence. Can you spot them?
Answer: they’re head should be: their head, and their writing should be they’re writing.
Your and You’re
Your: one’s; used to indicate something belonging to a certain person. I think that’s your jacket in the closet.
You’re: contraction of “you are.” You’re going to have to put gas in your car.
1. When I borrowed ________ car, it wouldn’t start.
2. ________ going to have to see the doctor about ________ knee.
3. Have you ever had ________ blood drawn?
4. Do you know if ________ going to spend the night or go home?
5. Where are ________ keys?
6. Did you know that ________ supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
7. Why doesn’t ________ phone work?
8. ________ hair looks great!
9. What’s ________ favorite book? ________ always reading!
10. ________ apartment is really cool.
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