Like one never stops learning, the English language can never stop confusing. When we talk about the most tricky part of the English language, no doubt, we are referring to homophones. They can get very complicated if you are not aware of them.
Homophones are words that sound exactly the same. And the most common example would be the words “their,” “there,” and “they’re”. Now, you see they sound the same and what most people tend to do is, use them interchangeably. But that is not correct.
These words only sound the same, but they have completely different meanings and usage. Let us discuss them in detail.
Their vs There vs They’re – Difference
The word “their” is generally used to indicate the belongingness of something. “Their” is a possessive form of the pronoun “they”. So, we can say, “their” defines something that belongs to or relates to certain people or things.
Let us look at some examples;
- They left their books on the table.
- They have their judo classes now.
We can see, “their” describes something that belongs to or relates to them.
Usually, “their” is used in plural cases since it is a form of “they”. But in most cases, it can also be used for singular pronouns. For example;
- Someone left their shoes.
Now, coming to the word “there,” it is an adverb of place. “There” is used as an adverb that indicates in or at that place. It is more about location, and it is like an answer to where and the opposite of here.
Let us understand with examples;
- He is there.
- Keep it there.
- We are going there tomorrow.
Here, “there” indicates a location that someone is at or is going to be.
“There” can also be used in an abstract manner, and it would still mean the same.
- There is still hope.
- There you go.
Another important note about “there” is that it can be used as a pronoun. As a pronoun, it is used at the beginning of a sentence that has a subject following the verb.
- There is a big tomb in Delhi.
The last of the trio, “they’re,” is a completely different word with a different meaning. To be simply put, “they’re” is the contraction of the word “they” and “are”.
Contractions are shortened words like shouldn’t= should+not, or can’t= cannot.
“They’re” describes the verb to be in a plural sense referring that “they” are something. It is applicable for both living and non-living things.
Let us look at some examples;
- They’re the right people for this match.
- They’re the best teams in our school.
- They’re some of the best books I’ve ever read.
- They’re nothing but a big hassle.
We see, “they’re” simply indicates “they” relating to or being something.
Remember the difference Their and There and They’re
- “Their” is the possessive case of they, and it is used to indicate something that belongs to them.
- “There” is an adverb of place that refers to a location.
- “They’re” is the contraction of “they are”.
To conclude, homophones are tricky but not impossible to understand. Remembering these small points can make it easier for you.