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ESL learning: There, Their & They’re


OK ladies and gents, I will answer a question that I had recently from a student studying a course in Business English.

Is there a difference between There, They’re and Their?

Yes. Of course! Here are the basic usages and differences in brief; we will look at them more closely further down in this post.

1. Use “There” when referring to a place.
2. Also use “There” to indicate the existence of something.
3. Use “Their” to indicate possession.
4. “They’re” is a contraction meaning ‘they are’.

1. Adverb which means the opposite of “here”

The English book is over there.
Freeze! Stay right there.
Would you study English here or there?

2. Pronoun which introduces a clause or a noun.

We say ‘there’ + verb-to-be (is, am, are, was & were).
This shows the existence of a thing.
Also, we can use There to say something for the first time.
There is a great Travel English Program at ETO.
Are there any sodas here?
There is an old house on the corner.
There are a lot of people learning English as a second language.

3. Adjective which specifies a certain person, thing or noun.

That fish there is pretty.
That Native English teacher there is the best.

4. Noun which translates to “that place.”

He is not climbing up there!
From there, she jogged home.


Their is an adjective that shows 3rd person possessive usually, but not always, in the plural form. This means that it shows that something belongs to another group of people. The word There nearly always comes just before the noun

Where are their grammar tips?
Is this their house?
At the ETO website, their demo class is posted for everyone to view.
ETO’s online textbooks are on their website too.
Her parents lost their car in the big parking lot.


There is a contraction. It means they are. There is usually followed by a continuous verb, (verb+ing)

They’re leaving tomorrow.
Who knows which English thesaurus they’re reading?
I see they’re improving their American pronunciation.
When they’re here, we will begin the conversation class.
When they’re richer, they can buy a nicer car.


Helpful ways to remember these grammar rules

There: Has the word ‘here’ inside to remind us there refers to places.
Their: Has the word ‘heir’ inside to remind us that something belongs to someone.
They’re: Try spelling out the contraction as ‘they are’ and see if it still sounds correct.

Grammar Quiz Time ^__^
Please try to complete the below grammar test and see how you do!
1. ___ cat is big.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

2. ___ was a common grammar point on the test.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

3. Her students will come today. ___ driving from Chicago.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

4. Many years ago ___ weren’t any SAT exams; universities only looked at high school grades.
a. their
b. there
c. they‘re

5. My friends bought new English material for learning. ___ new material is great!
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

6. Both drivers have a license. ___ both able drive legally.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

7. When you drive over ___ , can you please take my sister with you?
a. their
b. there
c. they‘re

8. Will you show me where ___ ETO Blogs are?
a. their
b. there
c. they‘re

9. ___ building is across the street.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

10. Can you tell me where ___ English class is?
a. their
b. there
c. they‘re

Please omment below with your answers..

How to keep learning?

Learn to recognize correct and incorrect usages of Their, There and They’re. It always helps us learn if we can teach these new points to a friend or if we write a few example sentences using the new grammar knowledge.

If you are still having challenges with this grammar, consider hiring a private tutor online.

In the meantime, please stay subscribed to our Facebook, YouTube & Twitter pages

By: Luke 

ETO American English teacher

Image credit 1: Grammarly.com



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