Their, There, or They're?

If you’ve ever been unsure about whether to use their, there, or there, you’re not alone. It confuses lots of people. Even as a professional writer who's familiar with the rules of grammar, punctuation, style, and usage, on occasion, I have to take a moment and run through all three to ensure I’m using the correct one.

Their, there, and they're are homophones--words that sound alike but have different spellings or different meanings. 


This word shows possession (i.e. ownership).

The branches from my tree protruded into their yard.

Their sales quadrupled after they began running commercials.

They posted my blog on their website.


This word refers to a location or a point in a process.

Call before you leave, or call when you get there.

Stop right there. I disagree with everything you just said.

There comes a time when you’re forced to make a difficult decision.


This word is a contraction, meaning it’s two words condensed (i.e. contracted) into one. They’re is short for they are.

It’s obvious they’re not interested in advertising. (It’s obvious they are not interested …)  

They're not home. They're on vacation. (They are not home. They are on vacation.) 

They’re not sure what time their flight departs. (They are not sure what time their …)