Friday, December 15

Are We There Yet? Or Their? Or They’re?

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There seems to be a fair bit of confusion here. Writers can’t seem to get the right word in their sentences. They’re getting mixed up. Hopefully I can help to make it easier to remember which there to use where.

Notice the apostrophe in the word “they’re”? An apostrophe means that some letters have been left out. Not nearly as many as the kids are leaving out in their text messages. Just enough to make your words sound like they’re wearin’ blue jeans, rather than the stuffy penguin suits that they are required to don for more formal occasions. In other words, “they’re” is a contraction for the two words “they are”. Not really that difficult.

Use the word “their” to show possession. Notice the letter “i” in this word. I like to possess things, how about you? These possessions are not mine, however, nor are they yours; those are their possessions. That’s a good thing if you think about paying taxes. THE IRS will be collecting taxes from them for what is theirs. (That’s the Internal Revenue Service, for those of you who are not American. I’m not American either, I’m Canadian, but we watch a lot of American TV. That’s neither here nor there, just me rambling.) Have I completely confused you yet? Just remember that there is an “i” in their, because whatever you are talking about, if it is theirs, it belongs to them.

Are we there yet? How do you answer your kids when they ask this question? I usually say “No, we are here.” To get from here to there, just add the letter “t”. If you are still confused, it’s neither here nor there.

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