First, let’s examine the possessive forms, shall we?! Their refers to something belonging to “them.” The sentence “that is their car” is a perfect example of the correct use of their. This is the only time you use their! Your is the possessive form of you. The sentence “that is your car” is a perfect example of the correct use of your. This is the only time to use your, yet people misuse this one the most, and it is so irritating!!! Its refers to something that belongs to an object or animal. The sentence “the cat ate from its food dish” is a perfect example of the correct use of its. It is the only time you use its.
Now, we come to the contractions. A contraction is a word formed when two words are put together. There is usually an apostrophe in a contraction, denoting the point where one word leads into the other. They’re is a contraction of they are, so any time you would use the words they are, you can use they’re. The sentences “they’re going to the movies,” “they’re having a good time,” and “they’re going to be upset” are all correct uses of the word they’re! This is the only time to use the word they’re! It’s is a contraction of it is, so any time you would use the words it is, you can use the word it’s. The sentences “it’s very warm today,” “it’s coming closer,” and “when it turns red, it’s ripe” are all correct uses of the word it’s. This is the only time to use the word it’s!
Now we come to you’re, perhaps the biggest grammar error in the English language is the mistaken use of your when it’s supposed to be you’re. It’s ridiculous how many people do it, really, and smart people too. I can forgive people who are learning the English language, because it is a difficult language to learn. But when regular English speakers misuse them, they just look so stupid. You’re is the contraction of you are, so any time you would use the words you are, you can use the word you’re. The sentences “you’re a very nice person,” “when you see the yellow house, you’re home,” and “do you know how you’re going to get home tonight” are all correct uses of you’re. Don’t EVER use your when you mean you are, it just makes you look like a complete fool and those of us who know the difference will lose respect for you.
Lastly, we have there. There is a word denoting a location. It can also be used abstractly in a statement. Some correct uses of the word there to denote a location are: “the book is over there,” “there is the answer you’re looking for” and “I will call you when I get there.” There can NEVER be used in place of their or they’re!!! When there is used in the abstract, it’s usually in a statement such as “there are 860 students in the school” or “there needs to be a way to do this correctly.” In these cases, there does not denote a location, but rather is the abstract beginner to a statement. Once again, it can NEVER be used in place of their or they’re!!
There you have it, your lesson on the correct use of these words. I hope it’s helpful and that you’re ready to use it. They’re difficult to master because they all have their different uses, but you must, for your, and my, sanity. Please, when writing, use the correct form…..it’s like nails on a chalkboard when I see your instead of you’re and there instead of they’re. It’s ridiculous, and it makes you look ridiculous. My apologies to those of you who use them correctly, but you will be able to sympathize with me.