They're, Their or There
ESL Lesson on Homonyms

Lesson Overview

This lesson is designed for ESL (English as a Second Language) students, but the content (for instance, the story) could be modified for other students. This lesson gives students practice on the homonyms they're, their and there.

In this lesson, students will listen to a story using an audio clip. Next they will read an explanation of the homonyms and then do various types of exercises to reinforce their learning.

SoftChalk would like to thank Marguerite Garrison, an ESL teacher from Oregon, for developing this lesson.

 

Story

Follow the text as you listen to the story.

jim_john.jpg Two brothers, Jim and John, wanted to make some extra money. They had some ideas but decided to ask their parents for more ideas. Their mother said to their father, "They're good singers. Over there across the street is a restaurant. They could sing for their supper."

So the boys went to this restaurant and got a job singing on Saturday night. The customers liked their songs and soon there were large crowds. "They're young but they sing from the heart," people said. Eventually, their boss gave them a raise.

The boys shared their money with their family. Their proud parents said to each other, "They're great!"

 

Explanation

They're– a contraction for "they are." 

  Hint: Try substituting "they are." If the sentence still makes sense, you'll know what to use!

Examples: They're coming over for lunch today, and I'd better get ready. 

 Afterwards, they're hoping to go on tour.

They're the people who live on the corner.

 

Their– the possessive form for "they."  Something belongs to them. The thing that is owned follows the "their."

Hint: The word "heir" is part of the word "their." An heir owns property after someone passes away. That helps you remember that "their" is about possession.

           Examples:  Their car was pulling into the driveway. 

           For lunch at the deli, I tried their ham sandwich. 

           Their hopes were dashed when the accident happened.

 

There– location, pointing out something, something exists.

Hint: The word "here" is part of the word "there." That helps you remember that "there" shows position and location. If "here" works, so will "there."

Examples:  Over there is a house with red shutters.

           There is a tavern in the town.   

           I'm going there to see if I can help.

Move your mouse over the blank spaces to see the correct word.

their_parents.jpg Two brothers, Jim and John, wanted to make some extra money. They had some ideas but decided to ask _____ parents for more ideas. _____ mother said to _____ father, "_____ good singers. Over _____ across the street is a restaurant. They could sing for _____ supper."

So the boys went to this restaurant and got a job singing on Saturday nights. The customers liked _____ songs and soon _____ were large crowds. "_____ young but they sing from the heart," people would say. Eventually, _____ boss gave them a raise.

The boys shared _____ money with _____ family. _____ proud parents said to each other, "_____ great!"

 

 Toggle open/close quiz question

 

   Link to labeling activity. 

 

 Link to labeling activity. 

 

 Link to sorting activity. 

 

 

In the activity below, click in the answer slot. Then type in the right form of "they're," "there," or "their." Click on Check Answer to see how you did.

 

Hint: Three questions to ask yourself:

1)  Substitute "they are" in the sentence. Does that make sense?

2)  Is possessing or owning going on?

3) Is existing or location important?

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