They’re, There, or Their?
These homophones (words that sound the same, are spelled differently, and have different meanings) can cause us problems if we’re in a hurry. I have a simple trick that will help you remember the difference between these three.
They’re is a contraction: it stands for “they are.”
Their is possessive–it shows ownership of something.
There simply shows location.
Most of the time, when in a hurry, we use the wrong choice between “there” or “their.” So, here’s the most important trick–think “I, I, I, ME, ME, ME, POSSESSIVE! Why? Because of the “i”–their. The most common mistake I see in e-mails and Facebook posts are when writers use “there” in place of “their.” For example, I’ve recently seen “Please send me there contact information.” Spell check won’t catch it, because it’s spelled correctly; however, we are talking about “someone’s” email, so we would use possessive, I, I, I, ME, ME, ME! POSSESSIVE! (Their).
INCORRECT: Please send me they’re (they are) contact information.
INCORRECT: Please send me there (location) contact information.
CORRECT: Please send me their (ownership) contact information.
So, before you click “Post” or “Send,” take a quick moment and ask, “Am I showing direction or ownership?”
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