Because they are pronounced the same but have different meanings, we call these words homophones. These words are often confused – even by native English speakers. So, how to tell the difference between there vs their vs they’re? In this IELTS Grammar 101, we’ll give you some tips on telling them apart.  

  • Difference between there, their and they’re 

  • Synonyms of there, their and they’re  

  • Use there, their and they’re in a sentence 

There, their, or they’re: the difference 

There  

Is an adverb: A word that describes, gives more information about a verb, adjective, adverb or phrase.  

Is an exclamation: A word or sound used to display strong emotion.  

Their  

Is a determiner: A modifying word that determines the kind of reference a noun or noun group has.  

They’re  

Is a contraction: A shortened word, or two words combined with fewer letters.

There, their, or they’re: the definitions 

There

A word used to describe a place or position, or to attract attention to someone or something. It can also be used as a word to focus attention to someone or to comfort someone.  

Their  

A word used to associate with people or things that were previously mentioned or can be easily identified.  

They’re  

A shortened word for “they are”. 

There, their, or they’re: the synonyms

There  

Could also mean (synonyms): near  

Their  

Synonyms include: belonging to them, belonging to others, he, her, they  

They’re  

  • There’s no synonym for for this. 

There, their, or they’re: in a sentence 

There  

  • Please put it over there.  

  • The snowfall out there is beautiful.  

  • There appears to be a mistake.  

  • There, I’ve fixed it for you.  

Their  

  • She gave them their books.  

  • One of the kids lost their lollipop.  

  • Someone forgot to lock their car.  

  • That’s their water bottle.  

They’re  

  • They’re not free for dinner tonight.  

  • Did you know that they’re moving away?  

  • They’re my closest friends.  

  • Someone told me they’re here. 

Want to learn more about commonly confused words?

In written English, it is important to know the correct spelling of a word you want to use. You don’t want to write “weak” when you mean “week” even though they sound the same. In spoken English, spelling is less important, but pronunciation is. Think about the word “lead” which can be pronounced as “led” or “leed.” Because these words cause a lot of confusion, it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference: homophones vs homographs vs homonyms. Read more here.  

People often use elude when they mean allude, or write allude when they should really write elude. There are other commonly confused words too: Do you know the difference between belief or believe? That is the question of another article where we explain the difference between these two commonly misused words. Read it here.