Commonly Confused Words: There vs. Their vs. They're

What's an easy way to get your SAT/ACT essay marked down? By making glaring grammatical mistakes.

Mixing up There vs. Their vs. They're is an egregious mistake – so it's worth knowing their proper usage!

There are plenty of websites that can explain the difference between the words in actual grammatical terms, but I find it easiest to just use the Replace and Repeat method.


They're is a contraction of They are. They're late. They are late.

So anytime you are unsure about which word to use:

Replace the word with "They are" and Repeat the sentence to see if it makes sense.

For example: They're cold. They are cold. That makes sense.

Their house is blue. They are house is blue. OR There is no time left. They are no time left. These make NO sense.

But how to tell when to use Their vs. There?

Easy. Their is the one that indicates possession. Anytime you're referring to someone's belongings (their house, their jacket, their phone, their pet turtle, etc.) – use their. Otherwise, you'll pretty much use there. That's not a hard and fast rule, but it pretty much covers 99% of cases.

Hope that helps! And remember, little things make a big difference on test day. So invest the time to get these details right. It could mean the difference between moving onto the next step in the college application process or having to retake the SAT or ACT.

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