When you are writing it can be easy to make mistakes with there, their and they’re because the pronunciation is the same and therefore you can miss these errors when proofreading your work. Although the meaning is usually understood by the reader because each word has such a different meaning, the reader (especially university tutors) may form a bad impression of your writing if you misuse these words because they think that you have not checked you work properly. So here is a technique to help you.
1. Using the ‘find’ function on your document highlight all the instances of there, their and they’re
2. Use this word replacement technique to check you have the correct word.
If you can substitute ‘there’ with ‘here’ in the sentence, then there is correct.
If you can substitute ‘their’ with ‘our’ in the sentence, then their is correct.
If you can substitute ‘they’re’ with ‘they are’ in the sentence, then they’re is correct.
3. Make any changes to your writing.
You can also use this technique for other words with the same pronunciation and different spellings such as ‘to, ‘two’ and ‘too’ or ‘write’ and ‘right’. This can be a good way to improve your attention to detail when checking your written work.
NB: Remember that in academic writing it is better to not use contractions so choose they are instead of they’re.