Commonly Confused Pronouns

Updated 2010-09-14 15:44


The source of confusion between words like They're and Their is that, when it comes to pronouns, apostrophes (') actually don't indicate possessives. Apostrophes in pronouns indicate that some letters have been removed to create a new, shorter word out of one or more words. This new word is known as a contraction. They're is a contraction of "they are". It's is a contraction of "it is".


Their, Your, and Its are possessives. Pronoun possessives, unlike other possessives, have no apostrophes.


There is totally unrelated to They're and Their. As a pronoun, There refers to a location, not a multitude of people, places, or things. Sometimes There an adverb. For example: "There are a few rules you have to remember." In this case, the adverb There is modifying the verb "are".


Got it?


Question Answer
Contraction means...two words smooshed together (they're)
Possessive means...someone possesses something (their)
Which one has an apostrophe?contraction
Which one has no apostrophe?possessive
3 tricky contractionsthey're, you're, it's
3 tricky possesivestheir, your, its

They're and Their

Let's start with They're, Their, and the unrelated word There.
Question Answer
Yesterday they were running. Today ____ running.they're
The pencil belongs to multiple people. It is ____ pencil.their
It is not over here. It is over ____.there

It's and Its

Moving on to It's and Its.
Question Answer
The teeth belong to it. They are ____ teeth.its
Yesterday it was raining. Today ____'s

You're and Your

Now your ready for You're and Your. (Did you catch my error? I hope you did!)
Question Answer
The hourglass belongs to you. It is ____ hourglass.your
Yesterday you were learning. Today ____'re


Now practice them all together by clicking the "combine tables" link at the top-right.

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