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They're vs. Their - The Differences

Their and they’re sound the same in English and it is a common mistake to mix them up, even for native English speakers. However they have very different meanings.

Grammar Corner They're vs. Their - The Differences


THEY’RE – Basic Explanation


They’re is a contraction of they are.

  • They’re sad. (They’re here means they are … they are sad)
  • They’re playing golf.
  • They’re in that house.

THEIR – Basic Explanation

THEIR = a possessive adjective. It shows possession, that something belongs to some people you are not talking to right now.

Examples of other possessive adjectives are MY, YOUR, HIS, and HER:

My car, your car, his car, her car, their car.

  • They have books. Their books are new.
  • These are not my books, they are their books.

THEIR is also used for a group of two or more people that are not with you right now.

  • David and Jane are married. Their car is blue.
  • John and Brian are brothers. Their mother speaks Italian.
  • Their hair is long.
  • Their teacher is very tall.

The noun after their can refer to a thing (or person) that these people have.

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