There, their, they're. Prove you can choose the right one.

EDUCATION

By: Susan McDonald

5 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

English is a complicated language and those who are native speakers often feel lucky that we didn't have to learn it as a second language. There, their, and they're sound alike, but have very different meanings. Do you know which is correct?

Please put your clean laundry over _______.

There is the correct answer. It is not possessive, like their, or a contraction, like they're.

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_______ arriving on the 5:30 flight.

They're is the correct response, because it is short for they are.

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_______ is no easy way to say this.

In this case, there is used as a pronoun to introduce a sentence in which the verb comes before the subject and has no complement.

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How did you like _______ new house?

Their is correct in this example, because it refers to a house that is owned by someone.

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All students should now be in _______ caps and gowns.

Their is always the correct choice when possession is involved.

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_______ is no time to lose.

If it's not possessive and not an abbreviation for they are, it has to be there.

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_______ moving to Pittsburgh next month.

When referring to more than one person doing something, the contraction they're is correct.

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He stopped his speech _______ because he needed a drink of water.

In this case, there is used as an adverb to mark a certain place or time.

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Will you find out if _______ going to be late?

If you're in doubt, use they are instead of they're and see if it makes sense.

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_______ boat cost a small fortune.

This refers to a boat that is possessed by more than one person, so the correct answer is their.

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You really shouldn't interfere, because it's _______ choice.

This case needs a possessive pronoun, so their is the correct choice.

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_______ bringing pulled pork and we're making cole slaw.

In this situation, more than one person is contributing to the pulled pork, so the contraction for they are is correct.

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He said he left it somewhere over _______.

The person in question left his item at a physical location, so the correct response is there.

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_______ going to a movie later.

The contraction for they are is the only correct answer.

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He grew up _______ but moved away for college.

The place where someone grew up is a physical location, so there is correct.

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It's _______ turn to host the pot luck dinner.

Even when you're not referring to a physical object, their is correct when possession is involved.

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I don't think _______ going on vacation with us this year.

This refers to people, so the contraction for they are is appropriate.

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I'll help you with the first question, but you're on your own from _______ on.

In addition to a physical space, there also refers to a state or condition.

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_______ grounded for the rest of the week.

They are grounded, so the contraction they're is correct.

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I don't know if _______ coming or not.

If you could use two words -- they are -- interchangeably, it's they're.

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_______, this project is finally finished.

In this case, there is used as an interjection to express relief.

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Been _______, done that, got the t-shirt.

There can also be used as an idiom, in this case meaning something that you've done and are bored by.

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It's _______ house, so they can impose any rules they choose.

When it's possessive, it's their.

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John said _______ getting married in June.

Substitute they are. If it works, it's they're.

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They left _______ passports at home.

The passports belong to someone, making this possessive, so it's their.

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I've heard that argument before, so don't go _______.

In this case, there refers to a place, even though it's not specifically geographic.

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It's _______ decision and we shouldn't interfere.

This is possessive because the decision belongs to them, so the correct answer is their.

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_______, _______, everything will turn out OK.

There can also be used as an interjection to indicate consolation.

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_______ is no way I'll agree to that.

If you're not sure, ask yourself if it's possessive (their) or a contraction for they are (they're) and if not, it's there.

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_______ not going to go to Aruba after all.

When it's a contraction for they are, it's they're.

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Is that _______ car in the driveway?

If it's possessive, it's their.

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I haven't been _______ for a few years.

When it's a physical or geographic place, such as a restaurant or city, it's there.

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_______ not nearly as funny as they think they are.

When it's a contraction for they are, it's they're.

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_______ it is.

This refers to a physical location, so it's there.

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They really should be more careful about keeping _______ doors locked.

Any time you're dealing with a possessive -- the doors belong to someone -- it's their.

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