SAY they and are together quickly, and you get they’re, a word form not many students can dream of using in their essays because it’s a contraction, and contractions are a no-no. This, I thought, was a leaf from an old writing rule book from my time at school three, four decades ago, but it still applies today.
Times haven’t changed.
The other thing that hasn’t changed too is the way we pronounce their. For a girl who used to pronounce ice-cream as ice kling in my all-Hokkien, hang-out-with-Grandma toddler years, I had grown up doing the their-sounds-just-like-they’re thing, right up to adulthood.
You know, that chicken rice stall at Bukit Timah Food Center? Don’t know the name lah, but they’re chicken rice is damn good!
And this excited foodie would go on to tell you: Oh, and behind this chicken rice man, I mean, two rows behind him, there’s this fish soup stall. Wah, they’re fish soup also very good!
You get it, we hear it, we say it: Their = They’re. Goodness knows how long I’ve been doing the wrong their until one day, many years ago—I forget when or how—the light of there shone on me.
Their is pronounced just like there. Watch Oxford’s phonetics:
There you have it: their, there.
I invite you to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any word ideas you’d like to share.