How Do I Use “There,” “They’re,” and “Their”?

there = a place

Ex: Put it over there.

they’re = they are

Ex: They’re in the car.

their = possessive of “they”

Ex: Their coats are in the closet.

Note: We also use the word “there” in phrases such as this: “there were.” However, these phrases can be wordy:

Wordy: There were three things that I had to remember.

Not Wordy: I had to remember three things.

Lieder singer Lotte Lehmann was frightened of Arturo Toscanini because of his reputation, and she found working with him a “fearful pleasure.” Still, shortly after singing for him for the first time, she was relieved to sing a few lieder for a Beethoven association. Before performing, she told a friend, “Oh, I feel so calm. An easy program, a nice appreciative audience, and no Toscanini there to be frightened of.” At that moment, she looked out at the audience—and saw Toscanini.

Some convicts are wise guys. In 1986, police in Green Bay, Wisconsin, placed an order for license plates for their unmarked police cars. Wisconsin convicts made the license plates, and on each license plate they put the initials “PD”—short for “Police Department.” Deputy Police Chief Robert Langan rejected the license plates and sent them back, saying, “They were a dead giveaway.”

Chico and Harpo, two of the famous Marx Brothers, were almost equal in height, but Chico was 1/16 of an inch taller. Occasionally, they would bet $5 on who was taller, with the taller person getting the money, and Harpo always lost. But one day Harpo said, “Fifty dollars says that I’m taller.” Chico bet the money, and Harpo was just over an inch taller, even after both brothers had taken off their shoes. Chico paid the money, and he learned later that Harpo had gone to a place that advertised, “Increase your height dramatically!” For several hours, he had been stretched, and for several hours, he was an inch taller, then he returned to his normal height.

Being a beautiful woman has its advantages. A café-bar on Spring and Broadway in New York City gives VIP cards to the models at a particular agency; with the VIP cards, the models get 75 percent off everything. When Sara (no last name given) went to the café-bar to use the card, they told her that to get the discount she had to sit in the window so people could see her. Sara says, “They want to get more people in there who want to be around pretty girls, and they’re not discreet about it at all. You definitely feel used. But, at the same time, if I can get 75 percent off, I’ll go for it, you know.”

Back when the Erie Canal was being dug in the state of New York, several Quakers invested in the construction of the canal. Afterward, the canal was fiercely opposed at a meeting by a man who argued that if God had wanted a waterway put there, He would have done so, and it was not for Humankind to do what God had not wanted to do. The Quakers were silent for a time after the fierce attack, then one of the Quakers quoted from the Bible, “And Jacob digged a well.”

Choreographer Moses Pendleton enjoys coffee that is sweetened with maple syrup. He also has unusual qualifications that he looks for in the dancers he uses in his work. He looks for, first, “a quality in that person that catches your eye and makes you want to follow them.” The second quality is also very important. He says, “The other important requirement is that they appreciate the humor of their director. If they laugh at my jokes, then they’re in.”

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