When two words sound alike (known as homonyms), it ‘s easy to think they mean the same thing. English being what it is, they usually don’t and it’s important to get them right so you say exactly what you mean.
For example, what’s the difference between their, there and they’re? The three are often mixed up when writing, because they sound exactly the same. However, the meanings of these three words couldn’t be more different.
Let’s start with their. It’s the possessive form of they, which means it is used to show ownership or belonging. If something belongs to them, it is their item.
Example: Michael and Lola left their car at home as it was a fine night.
If you are talking about a place or location, then you need the word ‘there. This word indicates where something goes or where something is.
Example: Michael dropped his coat on the floor. Lola said: “Don’t put it there, Michael. Hang it on a hook.”
Finally, they’re is a contraction of they are, with the apostrophe showing where the letter a has been left out. If you sound it out in full in the sentence and it sounds right, then you’ve got the right one. Otherwise, it must be one of the other two.
Example: “Where are my parents meeting us?” asked Lola. “They’re meeting us at the restaurant,” said Michael.
Putting It All Together
Once you have these three straight, then you can easily make sense of a sentence like this:
“Their car is being repaired, so they’re taking a cab to get there,” said Michael.