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Linguaholic

"Their", "they're" and "there"


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I tend to say them out loud the way they were intended:

You ARE going to school today.

You're.

They are getting their butts kicked.

They're.

Tends to help a lot. Concerning 'their' and 'there' I just think in terms of something going there that is theirs.

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I learned these terms when I was in middle school. I was able to distinguish their meanings and how to use them in a sentence. For instance, I use "their" when it is being used to describe something that's belonged to. "There", is use when I describe a direction. "They're" I use for the third person, which is often used to describe something.

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It's not telling the difference that's the problem. They're homophones and depending on what you're thinking about, you'll find that you've used one of them in the wrong context. It has happened to me once or twice and realized too late that you've made a mistake but if you've hit the "send" button, it's too late.

I lost a good gig once, that way. Just one mistake.

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I'll just reiterate what Dennis said. It's not so much an issue of not knowing the difference but of making typing errors when you're in a hurry. Sure a lot of people out there may not know the difference but an equally large number simply makes an honest mistake because of the similar sounding nature of these words.

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I guess being brought up with English that this has never really bothered me. All it is really is just another homonym, of which the English language is full.

To, Too, Two.

Where, Wear.

Fair, Fare.

Pear, Pair.

One of the oddities of "Their" though is that the e comes before the i.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I tend to say them out loud the way they were intended:

You ARE going to school today.

You're.

They are getting their butts kicked.

They're.

Tends to help a lot. Concerning 'their' and 'there' I just think in terms of something going there that is theirs.

This aligns with how I sort out these words also. It really helps me to keep the proper use of the words straight. Occasionally, I do slip up the proper use of the words, but it does not happen much anymore

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Much alike "your" and "you're", a bunch of people has no idea how to use "their", "they're" and "there".

I was surprised with this as well, as the difference was always pretty clear to me.

Do you feel the difference? Do you struggle with these words?

Well, once upon a time I did struggle with these words, but nowadays the proper use of them has become automatic for me. It's quite easy to distinguish them. "Their" is a pronoun, "they're" is a contraction/shortened form for "they are", and "there" refers to a location (maybe noun).  :grin:

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If I'm in a hurry to write something, I would probably commit this mistake once or twice, but thankfully I often catch myself before sending the message out. I think this is a little more understandable for people to be confused with than you're and your in some ways.

Yes you will find that many people make a lot of mistakes with these word, even my self. And not only these word but. "his"," Is". Yes it happens all the time.

"

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Yes especially internet users. On forums, they often mix up their, there, they're. I believe the reason is that all these three words sound almost the same when spoken in American English. I would also like to point out another jarring error that often annoys me. It's the use of "should have," and "could have" as "should of," and "could of." I don't see how some can make this mistake when there's no such thing as "should of" since it doesn't make any sense. Whenever I point it out for their own good, they'll resort to calling me a grammar nazi.

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These three words are used so incorrectly so frequently that I believe it also causes confusion for people who may pick up the incorrect usage without thinking twice about it.  I have seen these kinds of errors proliferate on the Internet especially. 

I've said it before about these kinds of confusions -- you're and your are good examples, as the OP pointed out -- like other things on the Internet they tend to go viral.  Unfortunately, catching bad grammar from others, much as one would catch a virus, can have negative consequences such as misusing the words in a cover letter or other important document where grammatical errors are not forgiven.   

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I learnt these words in my primary years and have'nt had any problem with them since. Once you are able to differenciate the meaning of there and their and know that they're is used in the short form you should be fine :smile:..

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The difference is pretty easy once you understand it.

They're -- the easiest to learn. Simply a conjunction of "They" and "are"

Their -- When you're talking about something "They" have possession of, eg. "Their dog" or "Their car"

There -- Anything else that doesn't fit these two, mostly used as a location word.

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It didn't seem like a big deal to me at first, but when I later found out the amount of people who confuse these words, I was shocked. Thankfully, this hasn't been a problem I face because I think I've solidified the concept and logic that each one of these words have.

However, that being said, I do confuse 'principal' and 'principle' sometimes as well (guilty truth :P). Though I am starting to get a firmer grasp on these two words in my daily vocabulary, you can't ignore that they were a problem in the first place :-).

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