Monday, February 21, 2022

Tips for Using Who's vs. Whose and Their vs .There, vs. They're

The words who's vs. whose and their vs. there vs. they're are frequently confused and used incorrectly.

Here are some simple tips to help you use these often-confused words correctly.

We'll begin by learning to choose between their vs. there vs. they're.
  • Their means it belongs to them. For example, I listen to their music.
  • There indicates a location. (Replace it with the similar word where to help you remember its meaning.) For example, I am going there after school.
  • They're is a contraction for the words they are. Read the contraction as two words. For example, They're (They are) my parents.
Here's a practice question. Choose between the words their, there, and they're to fill in the blanks.

1. When I got ________, he had ________ gift in his hands, and ________ going to be surprised.

Now let's discuss choosing between whose and who's.

  • Whose means it belongs to whom. For example, Whose coat is this?
  • Who's is a contraction for the words who is. Read the contraction as two words. For example, Who's (Who is) coming with me tonight?
Here are practice questions #2 and #3. Choose the correct word from the parentheses.

2. I don't know (who's, whose) to blame for this mess in the kitchen.
3.  (Who's, Whose) dirty dishes are on the counter?

You will find the answers at the end of this post.
To improve your writing, do a search for these words when you proofread something you have written to be sure you have chosen correctly.

To avoid making a mistake, ask yourself these questions:
  • Do you mean where? If so, choose there.
  • Do you mean it belongs to them? If so, choose their.
  • Do you mean they are? If so, choose they're.
  • Do you mean who is? If so, choose who's.
  • Do you mean it belongs to whom? If so, choose whose.
The following example sentences are correct:
  • Whose photos are posted there on the bulletin board?
  • They're the students who are going to take their time to do the assignment.
  • Who's the person who left the door open?
As promised, the answers to the practice questions above are #1 their, their, and they're  
#2 who's  
#3 whose

I hope you will find these tips helpful to use with your students and improve their writing. I have resources in my TpT store that will provide more helpful instruction and practice. The first one is FREE.

Thanks for reading,

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