Their vs. There: Know the Difference
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on November 24, 2023
"Their" is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership, while "there" refers to a place or a point in a discussion.
"Their house is beautiful," shows ownership of the house. "There is a cat on the roof," indicates the location or existence of the cat.
"Their" is used to indicate possession or ownership by multiple people or entities. "There" refers to a location or is used as an introductory subject in sentences.
Misusing "their" in place of "there" changes the meaning from possession to location. Confusing "there" with "their" can lead to unclear or incorrect statements about ownership.
"Their" is a possessive pronoun, a part of speech that shows ownership. "There" can be an adverb, pronoun, or noun, depending on its use in a sentence.
Their" is always used in the context of showing that something belongs to them. "There" is used to denote a place or to indicate the existence of something.
Part of Speech
Adverb, pronoun, or noun
Indicates ownership or belonging
Indicates location or existence
"Their book is on the table."
"There is a book on the table."
Refers to something owned by people or entities
Refers to a place or introduces a subject
Used before a noun to show possession
Used to indicate a place or to start a sentence
Their and There Definitions
"Their" indicates something that belongs to them.
Their ideas were innovative.
"There" introduces a sentence or clause.
There are many options to consider.
"Their" is used to denote possession by multiple people or entities.
Their car is parked outside.
"There" can denote a point in a conversation or argument.
There, I told you it would work!
"Their" is a possessive pronoun replacing "his or her" in plural form.
The students presented their projects.
At or in that place
Sit over there.
"Their" shows group ownership or association.
Their teamwork led to success.
To, into, or toward that place
Wouldn't go there again.
"Their" refers to something associated with a group of people.
Their enthusiasm was contagious.
At that stage, moment, or point
Stop there before you make any more mistakes.
Used as a modifier before a noun
The politicians boasted of their accomplishments. “It is fatal for anyone who writes to think of their sex” (Virginia Woolf). See Usage Notes at he1, they.
In that matter
I can't agree with him there.
Belonging to, from, of, or relating to, them (plural).
They will meet tomorrow at their convenience
This is probably their cat
In a readily accessible or discoverable state
The answer is out there. All we have to do is look for it.
Belonging to someone (one person, singular).
Used especially for emphasis after the demonstrative pronoun that or those, or after a noun modified by the demonstrative adjective that or those
That person there ought to know the directions to town.
Misspelling of there
(Nonstandard) Used for emphasis between a demonstrative adjective meaning "that" or "those" and a noun
"You see them there handles?" (Cormac McCarthy)."I tell you ... that you buried paving-stones and earth in that there coffin" (Charles Dickens).
The possessive case of the personal pronoun they; as, their houses; their country.
Nothing but the name of zeal appears'Twixt our best actions and the worst of theirs.
That place or point
Stopped and went on from there.
Used to express feelings such as relief, satisfaction, sympathy, or anger
There, now I can have some peace!.
(location) In a place or location (stated, implied or otherwise indicated) at some distance from the speaker (compare here).
(figuratively) In that matter, relation, etc.; at that point, stage, etc., regarded as a distinct place.
He did not stop there, but continued his speech.
They patched up their differences, but matters did not end there.
(location) To or into that place; thither.
(obsolete) Where, there where, in which place.
In this world, used to say that someone or something exists; see pronoun section below.
Used to offer encouragement or sympathy.
There, there. Everything is going to turn out all right.
Used to express victory or completion.
There! That knot should hold.
That status; that position.
You rinse and de-string the green beans; I'll take it from there.
Used as an expletive subject of be in its sense of “exist”, with the semantic, usually indefinite subject being postponed or (occasionally) implied.
There are two apples on the table. [=Two apples are on the table.]
There is no way to do it. [=No way to do it exists.]
Is there an answer? [=Does an answer exist?]
No, there isn't. [=No, one doesn't exist.]
Used with other intransitive verbs of existence, in the same sense, or with other intransitive verbs, adding a sense of existence.
If x is a positive number, then there exists [=there is] a positive number y less than x.
There remain several problems with this approach. [=Several problems remain with this approach.]
Once upon a time, in a now-forgotten kingdom, there lived a woodsman with his wife. [=There was a woodsman, who lived with his wife.]
There arose a great wind out of the east. [=There was now a great wind, arising in the east.]
Used with other verbs, when raised.
There seems to be some difficulty with the papers. [=It seems that there is some difficulty with the papers.]
I expected there to be a simpler solution. [=I expected that there would be a simpler solution.]
There are beginning to be complications. [=It's beginning to be the case that there are complications.]
Therefor, thereat, thereunder
(colloquial) Appended to words of greeting etc.
Hi there, young fellow.
Oh, hello there, Bob, how are you doing?
Misspelling of their
In or at that place.
The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
In that matter, relation, etc.; at that point, stage, etc., regarded as a distinct place; as, he did not stop there, but continued his speech.
The law that theaten'd death becomes thy friendAnd turns it to exile; there art thou happy.
To or into that place; thither.
The rarest that e'er came there.
A knight there was, and that a worthy man.
There is a path which no fowl knoweth.
Wherever there is a sense or perception, there some idea is actually produced.
There have been that have delivered themselves from their ills by their good fortune or virtue.
Spend their good there it is reasonable.
A location other than here; that place;
You can take it from there
In or at that place;
They have lived there for years
It's not there
That man [who is] there
In that matter;
I agree with you there
To or toward that place; away from the speaker;
Go there around noon!
"There" is used to indicate a place or location.
The book is over there.
"There" is used to emphasize a statement.
There, that's exactly what I meant.
"There" refers to a specific point in time or process.
We are not there yet in our plan.
Repeatedly Asked Queries
Can 'their' refer to singular nouns?
Yes, when the ownership is by a collective group or entity.
What's a common mistake with 'their'?
Confusing it with 'there' or 'they're'.
Does 'there' have a singular and plural form?
No, 'there' remains the same regardless of the number of subjects or objects.
What does 'their' imply?
It implies possession or ownership by a group or multiple entities.
How is 'their' used in a sentence?
As a possessive pronoun before a noun, e.g., "Their dog is friendly."
Does 'their' change in plural form?
No, 'their' is the same in both singular and plural possessive cases.
What does 'there' signify?
A location, a point in conversation, or an introductory subject.
Can 'there' be used for emphasis?
Yes, often to emphasize a point or statement.
Is 'there' always about location?
Not always, it can also introduce sentences or concepts.
How do you differentiate 'their' from 'there'?
Remember that 'their' shows ownership, while 'there' indicates location or existence.
Is 'their' gender-specific?
No, it is gender-neutral.
How do you use 'there' in a sentence?
To indicate a place or start a sentence, e.g., "There is a solution."
Can 'their' be used for inanimate objects?
Yes, it can refer to anything owned by a group.
Is 'there' used in formal writing?
Yes, but its usage depends on the context and sentence structure.
Does 'there' imply a specific distance?
Not necessarily, it can refer to any location, near or far.
How can I improve using 'their' and 'there'?
possession for 'their', location or introduction for 'there'.
Can 'their' refer to people and animals?
Absolutely, it's commonly used for both.
Can 'there' start a question?
Yes, e.g., "Is there a way to solve this?"
What's a common error with 'there'?
Mixing it up with 'their' or 'they're'.
Can 'their' be used for abstract concepts?
Yes, it can refer to intangible things like ideas or feelings.
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Written byShumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.