Use of English: The differences between THEY, THERE & THEIR

Question: Good day, Sir. Can I get a clarification on the differences between THEIR, THEY & THERE with examples please?

Answer: This question of yours is timely following the incessant mis-use of these words by non-native speakers. Without prevarication, see the rejoinder below:

THEY (/ðeɪ/) – is a third person pronoun (plural). However, “it, she, he” are regarded as third person singular. It is against the backdrop that ‘THEY’ is used to identify a group of persons, things or objects etc.

Many a user of English misconstrue or ignorantly intertwine THEY for THERE because the pronunciation of these words are nearly similar but not the same.

For examples:

  1. They (Joseph, Dr. Fatai, Dr. Ibrahim, Professor Bode and Engr. Ikani) latched interests to partner with N-Power.

  2. They (Pot, Stove, Spoon and other kitchen utensils) are used for cooking.

Therefore, from the foregoing, you’ll notice that ‘THEY’ which is a pronoun (a pronoun is a word that replaces a noun) comes before a verb. Thus, every pronoun or noun serves as a subject ( a subject is the performer of an action).

How to use ‘THERE’ ( /ðɛə(ɹ)/)

This word ‘THERE’ is an adverb; it is used to identify or show the distance or location of a thing or person. In comparison, see ‘HERE’. Sometimes, you could say ‘here and there’ – what do you mean?

Examples:

  1. Bola is there or here (Not They).

  2. He didn’t stop THERE (not they) when you ordered him to.

Very importantly, ‘THERE’ could be used to identify the existence of an idea, ideology, concept, etc.
For examples:

  1. There are principally three functions of a noun.

  2. In spoken English, there are several misconceptions, especially in pronouncing vowel sounds.

Are you following?

In conclusion;
THEIR (/ðɛə(ɹ)/) shares pronunciation with THERE but different in meaning and usage.
THEIR – is an adjective, and of course, most adjectives are used side-by-side a noun. It therefore means that adjectives are used to modify or add more meaning to a noun. Insightfully, the word ‘THEIR’ is also used to show ownership of things, persons etc.

For examples:

  1. They will meet tomorrow at their convenience.

  2. This is their ( Samuel and David’s) parents.

  3. That is probably their ( Emmanuel and Rose’s own) cat.

Can you now see the differences?

 

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