Saturday, March 3, 2012


  Okay, so like, in 2nd grade I learned the difference between:
  • There
  • They're
  • Their

  In the USAF there was a half-day class on this subject, because people would write EPRs using spell-check options and since all 3 are spelled correctly, it'd pass up the words as fine.  Later XFD-format was the standard for EPRs, which was a shitty version of Adobe Acrobat's PDF.  The USAF was given version 1.0 which is horrible and buggy, and saving was almost impossible, and no one had PureEdge software at home to read it, making it a nightmare for everyone.  Some officer thought this was a good idea and that's why I hate brass, such as when an officer up-high changed the term THREATCON to FPCON (Force Protection Condition) for base-threat situations, making 9 infinity documents have to change for no reason, wasting several Brazils worth of trees.  The actual measures of the FPCONs were exactly the same as the THREATCONs, just with the name-change.  Fracking idiot bastard officers.

  Anyway, I find a lot of folks screwing up the 3 "thayers" in blogs, comments, etc.  It irks me a bit.. okay, a lot; enough to blog about it.  Pet peave or what will you, I'm going to explain it simply.  A trick is to use substitution beforehand.

A place, like over there, down there.  You should be able to substitute the word "HERE" with there and it should sound pretty okay: He fell down the hole over there. / He fell down the hole over here.  Works okay.

This is a contraction of two words: "THEY ARE".  You can substitute these two words in lieu of they're and it should sound correct, as in:  "They're going to go to the store / They are going to go to the store."  It works.

This is ownership of several people, as if someone owns something.  You can replace the word with "HIS" and it should be pretty correct (though if it's a girl, you should use "HER"):  "They took all of their books with them. /  They took all of his books with them."

Pretty simple.  The rule is, substitute:
  • There with here
  • They're with they are
  • Their with his

So let's prove these 3, just in case.  We had 3 sentences above.  Let's try the substitution method to verify each of them for kicks. The three sentences were:
  1. He fell down the hole over there.
  2. They're going to the store.
  3. They took all of their books with them.

Let's try the first one, using the substitution method.  Which sounds right?
  • He fell down over here.  (We substituted there with "here")
  • He fell down over they are(We substituted there with "they are")
  • He fell down over his. (We substituted there with "his")
Which one sounds right?  Pretty obvious it's the first one.  Let's try the other 2:

  • Here going to the store.
  • They are going to the store.
  • His going to the store.
Pretty easy to guess which sound best, above, no?  Which did you pick?  The best choice was number two.  Lastly, the final sentence:
  • They took all of here books with them.
  • They took all of they are books with them.
  • They took all of his books with them.

Unless you want to sound like Yoda, it's pretty simple to choose.  By using Mike's quick method of substitution:
  • There with here
  • They're with they are
  • Their with his
you should be okay every time.  The first two are easy to remember.  There has "here" in it, spelling-wise.  They're has "They are" in it, if you make the apostrophe a letter "a".  The weird one is "their", which doesn't have "his" in it, but you'll just have to grow up and remember that "their" can be substituted for "his".  Sorry, life ain't easy.  If you enjoyed this lesson, please send me $100 via my homepage: under the donations section on the left under DONATE.  Thanks.

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