Grammar lesson #7: there/their/they’re (it’s okay)

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Here’s another one for the road, short and sweet:

There is an eyelash stuck in my eye.  Here the writer is explaining where an object (my eyelash) is located: there.
Their plans are coming together for the trip.  This is a possessive pronoun meaning his plans, her plans or belonging to both.
They’re going shelling on the beach.  In this case, we’re using the shortened version of they are.

These words are not interchangeable.  But if you remember: where equals there, their is spelled with an “i” (possessive) and they’re is short for they are, you should be good to go.

Do you have an easier way to remember the proper use of there, their and they’re?

*Grammar Nazi image borrowed from

Grammar lesson #1.5: an education on the apostrophe

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[Image credit: Grant Cochrane]

I hate to beat the poor misunderstood apostrophe to death, but lately I’ve noticed an increase in the gross misuse of this nondescript punctuation mark.  In my grammar lesson #1 about its and it’s, I discussed how the contraction in the latter usage is the result of shortening two words: it and is.  However, in the case of most singular nouns, an apostrophe is used to indicate possession; the absence of an apostrophe means more than one of something.  For example, my daughter’s new car sports a bright pink, fuzzy steering-wheel cover.  My daughter owns the car; therefore, an apostrophe is required.  And if I discuss my family and mention I have three amazing sisters, an apostrophe is not used because I’m talking about  quantity, not who owns what.  Simply stated: with means possessive, without means plural.

Do you, my readers, learn something from Always the Write Time’s grammar lessons?