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“There” vs. “they’re” vs. “their”

Posted by Maria Murnane | April 1, 2014

Today, I’d like to address another common grammar mix-up. Fancy parts of speech aside, here is the difference between “there,” “they’re” and “their.”

Many people confuse the three

There refers to a LOCATION

  • He is over there, next to the girl in the yellow dress.
  • You’re going to Spain? I went there last year and loved it.
  • Are you from California? She is from there too.
  • There is a chance it will rain

(There is also used as part of THERE IS/THERE ARE e.g. “there are three examples above”"

They’re means THEY ARE:

  • I think they’re wonderful singers, don’t you?
  • She told me they’re on the road this week.
  • They’re still on vacation, but I think they’re coming home soon.


  • This is their house, so please respect their rules.
  • She is their daughter, so they’re clearly very proud of her.
  • It is their mistake if they get their/they’re/there wrong after reading this post.

Authors should focus on getting grammar fundamentals like these right, not only in their books, but also in the marketing materials used to promote them (e.g. book descriptions, Facebook pages, author bios, etc.). These errors jump off the page at the reader and distract from the story or material, which is a real shame.

If grammar just isn’t your thing and never will be, a professional copyeditor can help catch mistakes like these before your book goes to print. (If you have a traditional publishing contract, you’ll be assigned one, but if you’re going the indie route, I strongly suggest hiring one.)


This blog post originally appeared on Reprinted with permission. © 2014 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.


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