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Writing Clinic: There, Their, They’re

They’re looking for their shoes over there.

They’re, there, and their. These three words are misused daily, and I must admit that although I know the right usage, occasionally I also have keyed in the wrong one. So, here’s a quick review on how to use them correctly.

They’re, there, and their sound the same but have different meanings. Knowing when to use which one is simple if you take a few seconds to think about what you want to say before writing.

  1. They’re is a contraction, a combination of the two words they and are. If you can substitute They are in the sentence you also can use they’re.

  2. There is a place. If the word answers the question, “Where is it?” use the word there. (Notice the word “here” within the word. If it’s not here it’s there.)

  3. Their shows ownership. It is the possessive form of they. Whose book is this? It is their book.

Do you have a grammar or writing question? Tell me and I’ll cover it in a future post.

©Mary K. Doyle

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