Possessive pronouns are often confused among most people, especially those trying to learn the fundamental rules of the English language. They don’t always follow the typical rules that you’d expect of them, and a little extra thought needs to be taken. “Their” is no exception.
Is It Theirs Or Their’s?
The correct possessive of “their” is “theirs” and is the only form you can use. “Their’s” is an incorrect way of using the possessive of “their” and should not be used. Possessive pronouns don’t follow the same rules as a possessive noun (which often use apostrophes when showing ownership of something).
There are no exceptions to this rule, either, so “their’s” can never be used in any situation. If you find yourself using the possessive form of “their” before an object in a sentence, then you simply drop the “s” entirely. This is where it gets a little bit confusing, but we’ll look at two brief examples to show you the only two acceptable variations of the possessive form “their.”
Example 1: The dog is theirs.
Example 2: This is their dog.
In both cases, the dog is the object owned by the “their” in the sentence. However, the possessive “theirs” is where we’ll spend most of our focus today. We thought it was important for you to see how the possessive changes when the object comes after.
How To Remember If The Correct Possessive Form Of “Their” Is Theirs Or Their’s
There is a simple way to remember whether you should include the apostrophe or not in the possessive form of “their.” Most of the time, apostrophes are used in possessive nouns to show ownership, and the object of the sentence directly follows them. For example, “the dog’s bone” or “the child’s food” show a possessive noun and the object owned.
With “theirs,” you will never see an object come after the word. You will only use the word “theirs” to show ownership of an object already mentioned. For example, “the dog is theirs” or “the food was theirs” are good ways of showing you how the possessive form changes when you use the pronoun “their.”
If you’re still a little confused, don’t worry, the more practice you get in, the easier it will become. You just have to get used to not using an apostrophe at the end. If you’re ever using a pronoun, whether it be “he,” “she,” “it,” “their,” or anything else, you will never use an apostrophe “s” to show the possessive. Remember, the possessive of “he” is “his” and “she” is “hers,” so “their” follows the same irregular pattern.
The Reason Why People Often Get Confused About Their’s Or Theirs
If you have read through this and found yourself making the mistake of including an apostrophe, don’t worry! You’re not alone in this, and it’s actually quite common. There are a few reasons people get confused about theirs or their’s because they sound the same when spoken. Sometimes, when you add an “s” to the end of the word in speaking, people assume that you add that “s” with an apostrophe when written down.
Similarly, we often use an apostrophe “s” to show the possessive form when we’re writing things. However, you must remember now that possessive nouns (John’s, dog’s, dad’s, etc.) are different from possessive pronouns (theirs, his, hers, etc.) Most possessive words use the apostrophe as a rule in the language, with very few exceptions. Remember that pronouns are the exception to this rule, and you’ll be set.
Examples Of Theirs And Their’s
Let’s finish by looking at a few examples of “theirs” and “their’s” in a sentence. We’ll include both correct and incorrect variations of the word so you can see how it would look with an apostrophe. We’re trying to drill the fact that apostrophes are wrong in this sense, so make sure you pay attention. We encourage you not to look at which sentence is correct or incorrect until after you’ve guessed for yourself.
Correct:The dog isn’t mine; it’s theirs.
Incorrect:You can’t eat that; it’s their’s.
Correct:That book isn’t yours; it’s theirs.
Correct:We can’t take that because it’s theirs.
Incorrect:Please, take their’s!
You may also like: Todays or Today’s? Here’s The Correct Possessive (Helpful Examples)
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.