There and their—do you know when to correctly use these two words in text? Much to my surprise, even professionals who have extensive formal education are confused in their meaning and usage.
As in previous articles, I will try to define and provide examples in the simplest manner possible so that the uncertainty of when to use there and when to use their can finally be demystified. Always keep in mind that you want to project professionalism in your writings, even when constructing informal emails. Presenting a writing that is grammatically incorrect or that has misspellings will only serve to tarnish your credibility and your professionalism among people within your field of expertise and your readers. Even the inappropriate use of simple words like there and their may be frowned upon.
Their always denotes possession. If you simply remember this definition, you will know when to properly use their. The following are examples:
This is their house.
This car is theirs.
It is their opinion that we should all have three-day weekends.
Why is it that their vacations are so fabulous?
In all four of the above examples, their is used to indicate possession—their house, their car, their opinion, and their vacations. If possession is not designated, simply use there.
Now, on to the subject of there. This word stands for the following:
A place—“I went there last night.”
At that point— “She stopped there for his comment.”
In that matter— “I agree with you there.”
That place or point—“I come from there, too.”
In none of the above sentences does there denote possession. As a result, you would know not to use their, but to use there instead.
Can you select the correct words in the following sentence? (The answer is at the end of the article.)
It is there/their intention to go there/their next year.
And remember, do not misuse they’re in place of either there or their. Simply stated, they’re is solely used as the contraction for they are.
I will gladly respond to email inquiries regarding grammar and punctuation issues. If you are having difficulty or just need clarification on a certain subject, please email me and I will do my best to cover the topic in a subsequent article.
Answer: It is their intention to go there next year.