Quiz: Can You Pass This “There” Vs “They’re” Vs “Their” Test?
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Can You Pass This “There” Vs “They’re” Vs “Their” Test?
by Zoe Samuel
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Grammar can confuse a lot of people, partly because it is often horribly taught or even mis-taught. One element that is especially badly taught is the apostrophe, that little comma in the sky that insists on showing up before and after the letter S and in all sorts of other places you didn't particularly want or expect it, bamboozling the innocent writer and often thwarting our ability to communicate clearly. Indeed, the apostrophe is so bewildering to many people that it is probably second only to the semicolon as the most misused punctuation mark.

The two most confusing apostrophe-related mistakes center on two areas: use of the word "it", and use of there, they're and their. We're going to see how well you can do on the latter - but we'll help you out first by reviewing the former. If you mean to say "it is," as in "it is mine," you say "it's." The apostrophe replaces the "i" in "is." If you mean to say "it belongs," as in "its shape is square," then you don't need an apostrophe at all! There is no version where the apostrophe goes after the S.

Now we've cleared that one up, let's move onto the old chestnut of there, they're and their. If you do well, tell your friends on Facebook! If you do badly, perhaps you can tell one friend and appeal to their sympathy, as then they're sure to say, "There, there."

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ABOUT HOWSTUFFWORKS

How much do you know about how car engines work? And how much do you know about how the English language works? And what about how guns work? How much do you know? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks is about more than providing great answers about how the world works. We are also here to bring joy to your day with fun quizzes, compelling photography and fascinating listicles. Some of our content is about how stuff works. Some is about how much you know about how stuff works. And some is just for fun! Because, well, did you know that having fun is an important part of how your brain works? Well, it is! So keep reading!