When to Use There and Their: Unlocking the Mystery of ‘There’ and ‘Their’

Some words sound alike but have different meanings. They’re called homophones. 

Cite and sightFlower and flourHole and whole are examples of homophones. 

When these pair of words are spoken aloud, they sound exactly alike, while their spellings and meanings are different. 

There and their are such words.

Here’s a simple trick to remember their use. Here with a T is there which means a place. Heir with a T refers to possession. 

Definition and when to use their

Their is the possessive form of the pronoun they. 

After writing their, it is followed by a noun. 

Their means possession, ownership and describes that someone owns a thing. 

It is mostly used as a third-person pronoun that describes a noun owned by many people. 

It is a plural that can be used to replace singular possessive pronouns like his and her as an indefinite singular antecedent. This refers to when the gender of a person is not known or you are speaking to people in a mixed crowd.  


  • Someone dropped their key in the hallway. 
  • Does everyone have their spoons in hand?

See also: When to Use ‘Too’: Understanding ‘Too’ for Everyday Use As A Writer

Their is commonly used in informal writing and conversations. However, it can be used in academic and professional writing, depending on the style requirements, to replace the gender pronoun his or her


Someone dropped his or her key in the hallway. (Incorrect)

Someone dropped their key in the hallway. 

When to use There

There is defined as being in or at that place. 

 It has many functions-as an adverb, noun, pronoun, adjective, or interjection.

As an adverb, “there” can mean in or at that place, a moment in time, or a specific matter. 


My children will be there soon. 

There he is!

“There” as a noun refers to a state or condition.

Once you are alone, you will have a clear thought from there on.  

“There” as a pronoun replaces a noun where the verb comes before the subject or the subject is not mentioned. 

It can also be substituted as the name of a place or a noun that has a specific time. 

We were there when that bell rang. 

He went there yesterday.

There provides emphasis as an adjective.

 Ask the man there for directions.

Lastly, as an interjection, it is used to express feelings and emotions, from relief, satisfaction, and approval, to encouragement and consolation.

  • There! We won!

See also: When to Use ‘Me’ or ‘I’: Easy Tips for Correct Usage for Writers

Examples of There vs. Their

  •  She loved their expensive clothes.
  •  I don’t want to go there because of his brother.
  • Their car was destroyed in the accident.
  • Once upon a time, there was a man who didn’t like work. 

How to remember the difference

If, at this point, you still can’t tell the difference, we have some tricks that will help you remember. 

Look at how the words are spelled. 

There has the word here in it. There is about location. 

Their has the word heir in it, which means a person who is entitled to inherit property. It talks of ownership, which is a possessive pronoun. 

See also: When to Use an Apostrophe: A Beginner’s Guide to Showing Possession and Omitting Letters


There and their are homophones. Although their is generally used in a plural form, it is also used as a gender-neutral personal pronoun in place of his or her