Can You Pass This “There” Vs “They’re” Vs “Their” Test?

By: Zoe Samuel

Can You Pass This “There” Vs “They’re” Vs “Their” Test?
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About This Quiz

Grammar can confuse a lot of people, partly because it is often horribly taught or even mis-taught. One element that is especially badly taught is the apostrophe, that little comma in the sky that insists on showing up before and after the letter S and in all sorts of other places you didn't particularly want or expect it, bamboozling the innocent writer and often thwarting our ability to communicate clearly. Indeed, the apostrophe is so bewildering to many people that it is probably second only to the semicolon as the most misused punctuation mark.

The two most confusing apostrophe-related mistakes center on two areas: use of the word "it", and use of there, they're and their. We're going to see how well you can do on the latter - but we'll help you out first by reviewing the former. If you mean to say "it is," as in "it is mine," you say "it's." The apostrophe replaces the "i" in "is." If you mean to say "it belongs," as in "its shape is square," then you don't need an apostrophe at all! There is no version where the apostrophe goes after the S.

Now we've cleared that one up, let's move onto the old chestnut of there, they're and their. If you do well, tell your friends on Facebook! If you do badly, perhaps you can tell one friend and appeal to their sympathy, as then they're sure to say, "There, there."

"They looked at ____ feet." Which is correct?
There
Their
Whose feet? Their feet! This is the possessive.
They're

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"I'll meet you ____." Which is correct?
There
This refers to a place. It's like "here," but with an extra T.
Their
They're

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_____ going to a party. Which is correct?
There
Their
They're
Who's going to the party? They are! Hence, "They're going to a party."

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"She knows ____ father." Which is correct?
There
Their
Whose father? Their father!
They're

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"____ very nice people once you get to know them!" Which is correct?
There
Their
They're
They are very nice people, you know!

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"I'd like to go ____ sometime." Which is correct?
There
It's a place, so it's "there".
Their
They're

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"They like ____ meat well done." Which is correct?
There
Their
Whose meat? Their meat! They like it well done, which is some may say is a bad call - but at least they can spell it.
They're

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"_____ is no question about it." Which is correct?
There
This isn't a physical place, but it's still a "there."
Their
They're

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"____ opening for the band." Which is correct?
There
Their
They're
Who is opening? They are opening!

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"____ gift to the world." Which is correct?
There
Their
They are giving a gift to the world. So it's their gift.
They're

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____, a gift to the world. Which is correct?
There
Here we see "there" in the sense of "voila" or "there you go." It's a slightly different use but still valid.
Their
They're

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_____ in possession of stolen goods. Which is correct?
There
Their
They're
Who is in possession of stolen goods? They are!

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"____ I was in ____ bathroom." Which is correct?
Their, there
Their, they're
Location and then possessive makes this, "There I was in their bathroom." You'll notice this quiz just got harder... and it's going to get harder again in a minute!
There, their
They're, there

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"____ but for the grace of God, go I." Which is correct?
There
There's no other mysterious spelling of "there" out there: we just threw in the any/none options to see if you would be deceived!
Their
They're
None!

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"____ going to get ____ just desserts." Which is correct?
They're, their
Who is going to get just desserts? They are. Whose desserts are they? Theirs. Hence, "They're going to get their just desserts."
Their, they're
They're, they're
There, their

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"By going ____, ____ making a big mistake." Which is correct?
They're, their
There, they're
By going to that place or idea, or "there," they are (they're) making a big mistake. Hence, "By going there, they're making a big mistake."
They're, there
Their, their

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"Why isn't ____ sister ____ for Christmas?" Which is correct?
Their, there
The sister belongs to them and the location is under discussion. Hence, "Why isn't their sister going there for Christmas?"
There, their
Their, their
They're, their

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"____ making ____ beds right now." Which is correct?
Their, their
There, there
They're, they're
They're, their
The beds belong to them, hence their beds. They are the ones making the beds, hence they're making. "They're making their beds right now."

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"____ not very bright, so don't trust ____ opinion." Which is correct?
They're, their
They are the ones who are bright (or not), and the opinion belongs to them. Hence, "They're not very bright, so don't trust their opinion."
Their, there
There, their
They're, they're

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"If ____ successful, ____ investors will be rich!" Which is correct?
They're, they're
Their, there
There, there
They're, their
They are the ones being successful and the investors belong to them, hence, "If they're successful, their investors will be rich."

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"____ minds are made up; ____ moving to California." Which is correct?
There, they're
There, there
Their, their
Their, they're
The minds belong to them, and they're the ones who are moving. Hence, "Their minds are made up; they're moving to California."

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"____ preferred option is to use ____ in-house designer." Which is correct?
Their, they're
Their, their
The preference and the designer both belong to them, so it's the same each time: their. "Their preferred option is to use their in-house designer."
They're, their
There, their

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"_____ building a new house _____." Which is correct?
Their, their
They're, there
They are the ones building the house, and it is located there. Hence, "They're building a new house there."
They're, their
Their, there

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"If _____ grounded, they'll be at _____ house." Which is correct?
They're, their
The house belongs to them, and they are the ones who are grounded. Hence, "If they're grounded, they'll be at their house."
There, their
They're, they're
Their, their

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"____ over ___!" Which is correct?
Their, their
They're, there
Who's over where? They are over there. Hence, "They're over there."
Their, there
They're, they're

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"____ kind, ____ calm, and ____ the sort of people you want around in a crisis." Which is correct?
There, there, there
There, they're, their
They're, they're, they're
That's right, all three are the same here. They are kind, they are calm, and they are the sort of people you want around in a crisis. Hence, "They're kind, they're calm, and they're the sort of people you want around in a crisis."
Their, they're, there

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"____ building ____ new house down ____." Which is correct?
Their, their, there
They're, their, there
They are the ones building, the house belongs to them and we know it's down there. So, "They're building their new house down there."
They're, they're, there
None of these options is correct and this sentence is nonsense!

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"____, they know ____ seen as more than the sum of ____ parts." Which is correct?
There, there, their
They're, their, there
There, they're, their
At that place (there), they know they are (they're) seen as more than the sum of parts that belong to them (their). That gives us, "There, they know they're seen as more than the sum of their parts."
Their, they're there

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"If you go ___, you could get stuck ___, and it sucks ____." Which is correct?
Their, their, there
There, there, there
Yep, it's all the same again! We're talking about one place, which is always "there," which means we get, "If you go there, you could get stuck there, and it sucks there."
Their, they're, their
Their, they're, they're

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"____ mostly not interested, but some of ____ friends might want to go ____." Which is correct?
They're, their, their
Their, there, there
Their, they're, their
They're, their, there
They are the ones who are not interested (they're), these friends belong to them (their), and there is a place under discussion (there). Hence, "They're mostly not interested, but some of their friends might want to go there."

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"I admired ____ looks, ____ poise, and ____ elegance." Which is correct?
There, there, there
Their, their, their
The looks, the poise, and the elegance all belong to them. Hence, the possessive "their" shows up three times, to give us, "I admired their looks, their poise, and their elegance."
They're, their, their
They're, they're, there

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"____ definitely ____ best selves when ____ under pressure." Which is correct?
Their, their, they're
They're, their, there
They're, their, they're
They are (they're) the ones who are a certain type of selves. The best selves belong to them (their). They are under pressure. Hence, "They're definitely their best selves when they're under pressure."
Their, they're, their

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"____ counting ____ chickens before ____ hatched." Which is correct?
They're, they're, they're
Their, their, their
There, there, there
They're, their, they're
They are the ones counting, and the chickens belong to them. That gets us, "They're counting their chickens." However we then consider who is hatching, and of course the answer is that the chickens are doing that. So we get another "they're," but referring to the chickens, for a resulting sentence that goes, ""They're counting their chickens before they're hatched."

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"Is ____ any ____ ____?" How could this possibly be a sentence?
Just put "there" in all of them with the second one in quotes.
"Is there any 'there' there?" is a common way of asking whether there is any substance to the matter at hand. It comes from the idea of investigating, as in ,"There's nothing there," or "There you go, there's something." If there is in fact something there, that can be referred to as "there" in this context. Hence, "Is there anything there" becomes colloquially turned into, "Is there any 'there' there?"
It can't. This is gibberish. Gibberish, I say!
There are about four options, actually.
It can't be a sentence without more punctuation.

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"____, ____, ____ probably just jealous of you." Which is correct?
Their, they're, there
There, there, there
There, there, they're
Saying "there, there" is a slightly archaic way of showing sympathy. When someone is upset, you might say. "There, there, it'll be better soon." It's a way of saying something rather than just sitting there in silence. So in this case, clearly the only way to make a meaningful sentence is to deploy this particular figure of speech to fill the first two gaps. Then we reach the third gap, where we can see they are (they're) jealous. This gives us, "There, there, they're probably just jealous of you."
This is not a sentence!

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