Their own or there own? Are you trying to work out which one to use?
‘Their’ and ‘there’ are homophones, words which sound the same but have different meanings. Confusion over when to use them is very common, even amongst native English speakers.
You must look at the context of the full sentence in order to choose whether to use their own or there own. The two phrases may sound the same when spoken aloud but have completely different meanings. The word ‘their’ means something belonging to ‘them’. The word ‘there’ indicates a place.
When to Use ‘Their Own’
If you’re talking about an item or object which belongs to a certain person or persons, you will most likely need to use ‘their own’.
The word ‘their’ is the possessive form of the pronoun ‘they’, meaning something belonging to ‘them’. In modern English, ‘them’ can refer either to a group of several people, or can be used as a gender neutral option for one person.
This sense of belonging is emphasized even more when ‘their’ is used alongside the word ‘own’ in a sentence. So, “their own dog” belongs even more clearly to ‘them’ than “their dog”.
‘Their own’ can also refer to something which people have done completely by themselves. For example: “Although they’re 85 years old, our neighbors cleared the snow from the path on their own.”
When to Use ‘There Own’
If you’re making a statement about something occurring in another place then ‘there own’ might be used.
The word ‘there’ refers to a specific place. When you see it next to the word ‘own’ it is likely to be a fragment which won’t make sense without the rest of the sentence.
It could be part of a description of what the people in a certain place possess, but we need more words to be sure. For example: “Ever been to the mountain regions? People there own skis as well as cars and bikes.”
Examples of ‘Their Own’ in a Sentence
- The children loved dogs so much that their parents bought them a puppy of their own.
- After skipping school, John and Lisa are in trouble of their own making.
- If our friends order pizza with pineapple, they will have to eat it on their own.
Example of ‘There Own’ in a Sentence
- With average income lower in Peru than the USA, households there own fewer cars.
How to Remember the Difference Between ‘Their Own’ vs ‘There Own’
- The word ’t h e r e’ contains the word ‘here’ inside it, so if you look inside the word you have a reminder about place.
- The word ’t h e i r’ contains the word ‘heir’ inside it, with an heir being someone who is going to inherit and own something one day. If you look inside this word, you have a reminder about things belonging to someone.
Test Yourself on ‘Their Own’ vs ‘There Own’ with these Sentences (fill in the blanks)
Ready to test your understanding on when to use their own or there own?
- With such high marks, our top performing students are in a class of ___________ .
- In colder countries, do you think the people ______________ more woolly clothes?
- Did those kids really travel across the country on ______________?
- They saved their allowance all year to buy ___________ car.
- Their own
- There own
- Their own
- Their own
A Final Word…
After reading this article, I hope that you’re no longer as puzzled about when to use their own or there own. Remember that learning grammar doesn’t have to be hard and practice makes perfect.