AEE 835: There, Their, and They’re- Is There Any Difference There?

there their and they're in English

Happy Halloween! Are you dressing up this year?

Do you have any costume parties to attend?

Let’s start off today with a quick  role play.

 

A: So Lindsay what did you do over the weekend?

B: Oh I went to my friend’s engagement party, but it was a different kind of engagement because he asked her to marry him, got down on his knee at the party. She said yes, luckily, then the Justice of the Peace came up and married them- boom! done!

A: Woah what did their families think?

B: They liked it. Everyone was there. I think they’re just trying to avoid the details of planning a wedding, etc. I don’t blame them.

A: Yeah so now it’s done and they can get on to the honeymoon.

B: Yeah I think if I ever get married I’ll do something like that too.

 

So in that conversation we used the words “they’re,” “their,” and  “there.”

Did you hear any pronunciation difference?

So that’s what we are talking about today.

Let’s read a question from a listener.

 

Hello, girls! How are you doing?

I hope you all are doing great! Thanks for dedicating part of your time to help us. I’ve been improving my listening and vocabulary skills a lot since the first time that I listened to your Podcast! So, my name is Adriana, I’m from Porto Alegre, Brazil, and here is a subject that I struggle with A LOT: is there any difference in pronunciation between the words THERE, THEIR and THEY’RE???

Some websites say that these words have the same pronunciation, but my English professor said that there’s actually a slight difference in pronunciation. So, I can’t figure out which one is right!! Need your help, girls!!!!

Have a great day!

Thank you!

-Adriana

 

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I find it annoying that the teachers told her there is a difference in pronunciation between these three words because our listeners don’t have time to worry about ridiculous details like these.

Our philosophy here is all about Connection.

Sometimes linguists make language inaccessible and harder than it needs to be.

There is no important difference in pronunciation between these three words.

Instead, focus on how to use these words for connection.

They are very important in the context of common phrases like the ones you’re going to see below.

 

Natural and native ways to use these words:

  • “There”: This is an adverb that means in, on, or at a specific place
    • “Hey there”- This can be used to greet someone in a more sweet way or it could be flirty or speaking to a friend. It could also be written in an email or text message. 
  • “They’re”: This is a contraction for “they are.”
    • “They’re here”: This is a famous quote from Poltergeist. Check out this site to learn more about how appropriate this would be at a party to quote in a conversation.
  • “Their”: This is a determiner that means belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified.
    • “Her taunts had lost their power to touch him.”
    • “Do New Yorkers really believe that their city is at the center of the world?”
  • Bonus: “There’s no there there.” : This is a common phrase in our news culture and it means that there is no substance in something. We might hear this being used a lot regarding current events and claims that people make in the news.

 

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