ESL learning: There, Their & They’re


OK ladies and gents, I will answer a question that I had recently from a student studying a course in Business English.

Is there a difference between There, They’re and Their?

Yes. Of course! Here are the basic usages and differences in brief; we will look at them more closely further down in this post.

1. Use “There” when referring to a place.
2. Also use “There” to indicate the existence of something.
3. Use “Their” to indicate possession.
4. “They’re” is a contraction meaning ‘they are’.

1. Adverb which means the opposite of “here”

The English book is over there.
Freeze! Stay right there.
Would you study English here or there?

2. Pronoun which introduces a clause or a noun.

We say ‘there’ + verb-to-be (is, am, are, was & were).
This shows the existence of a thing.
Also, we can use There to say something for the first time.
There is a great Travel English Program at ETO.
Are there any sodas here?
There is an old house on the corner.
There are a lot of people learning English as a second language.

3. Adjective which specifies a certain person, thing or noun.

That fish there is pretty.
That Native English teacher there is the best.

4. Noun which translates to “that place.”

He is not climbing up there!
From there, she jogged home.


Their is an adjective that shows 3rd person possessive usually, but not always, in the plural form. This means that it shows that something belongs to another group of people. The word There nearly always comes just before the noun

Where are their grammar tips?
Is this their house?
At the ETO website, their demo class is posted for everyone to view.
ETO’s online textbooks are on their website too.
Her parents lost their car in the big parking lot.


There is a contraction. It means they are. There is usually followed by a continuous verb, (verb+ing)

They’re leaving tomorrow.
Who knows which English thesaurus they’re reading?
I see they’re improving their American pronunciation.
When they’re here, we will begin the conversation class.
When they’re richer, they can buy a nicer car.


Helpful ways to remember these grammar rules

There: Has the word ‘here’ inside to remind us there refers to places.
Their: Has the word ‘heir’ inside to remind us that something belongs to someone.
They’re: Try spelling out the contraction as ‘they are’ and see if it still sounds correct.

Grammar Quiz Time ^__^
Please try to complete the below grammar test and see how you do!
1. ___ cat is big.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

2. ___ was a common grammar point on the test.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

3. Her students will come today. ___ driving from Chicago.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

4. Many years ago ___ weren’t any SAT exams; universities only looked at high school grades.
a. their
b. there
c. they‘re

5. My friends bought new English material for learning. ___ new material is great!
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

6. Both drivers have a license. ___ both able drive legally.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

7. When you drive over ___ , can you please take my sister with you?
a. their
b. there
c. they‘re

8. Will you show me where ___ ETO Blogs are?
a. their
b. there
c. they‘re

9. ___ building is across the street.
a. Their
b. There
c. They’re

10. Can you tell me where ___ English class is?
a. their
b. there
c. they‘re

Please omment below with your answers..

How to keep learning?

Learn to recognize correct and incorrect usages of Their, There and They’re. It always helps us learn if we can teach these new points to a friend or if we write a few example sentences using the new grammar knowledge.

If you are still having challenges with this grammar, consider hiring a private tutor online.

In the meantime, please stay subscribed to our Facebook, YouTube & Twitter pages

By: Luke 

ETO American English teacher

Image credit 1:


ESL Learning: May versus Might


May and might are words that have very similar meanings in English, and it might be hard to decide which of these words to use. But then again, after reading this blog, it may be a lot easier!

May: used to ask (or give) permission in a formal way


  • May I ask you a question?

  • Yes, you may!

  • May I have a raise?

May: to suggest that something is probable (will probably happen).


  • I see some dark clouds in the sky. It may rain this afternoon.

  • He loves basketball so much that he may continue practicing in the rain.

  • They have been saving up money, so they may go on a vacation during their break from work.


Remember that may often suggests something is probable to happen (or at least we have hope or faith that it will). Also, please note that May is the English name for the fifth month of the year on the Western (Gregorian) calendar, when it is used as a proper noun.

Might: used when an outcome is less probable, or probably will not happen


  • The weather reporter said it will snow, but I think that it might be hot later on today.

  • The team is not very good, but they might get lucky and qualify for the playoffs.

  • He drank so much beer that he might not remember his name.

Might: also used as the past tense form of may


  • Native Americans might have been in the Americas before the Bering Strait migration.

  • Bill Clinton might have been the best musician out of all of the American presidents: Here

Remember that English is a fluid language, meaning that it is always changing, but these are the official grammar rules for now. You may sometimes hear native English speakers say, “I may have been there before.” But according to current grammar rules, this is not correct.

Please note as well that might as a noun means strength. The noun might is used less often than the modal might in English. Some people say that eventually, may will replace might in English, and may is now used more often, especially in spoken English.

Are you ready to put your learning to the test? You might be! No, you may be!

I __________ go to the store later, but it’s so cold outside tonight! Maybe I will wait until tomorrow.

  1. may

  2. might

She _________ have an easy time finding a husband. She is very beautiful, and a good cook!

  1. may

  2. might

We _________ pay less money for phone calls now that we can Skype online for free.

  1. may

  2. might

Sir, it would be good to get some fresh air. __________ we continue this meeting outside in the garden?

  1. Might

  2. May

Who knows? We may be speaking soon! You can set up a free trial class to get started now!

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By Joseph

ETO American English teacher

ESL learning: Homophones (toad, toed & towed)


Homophones are words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spellings.

For example toad (relatives of the frogs), toed (a foot part) & towed (to pull by a rope).

Select the right homophone in the sentences below:

1. Although they are quite slow in trees, three-(toad, toed or towed) sloths are agile swimmers.

2. The bumps on the skin of a (toad, toed or towed) help it blend into its environment by breaking up its outline.

3. Gliders were (toad, toed or towed) behind a powered aircraft during WWII.

Please comment below with your answers..

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ESL learning: Phrasal verbs

ETO Railroad crossing

Let’s take some time off and get away!

Confused? “Take some time off” and “get away” are phrasal verbs; a group of words that functions as a verb and is made up of a verb and a preposition, an adverb, or both.

Together these two phrasal verbs mean “stop working and take a trip somewhere”.

Can you guess the correct phrasal verbs in the examples below?

1) The time a train arrives is when it ___.

a) gets away
b) gets in
c) gets over

2) To board (verb) a train is to______.

a) get on the train
b) get near the train
c) get in the train

3) To travel by train is to _________.

a) take the train
b) ride the train
c) drive the train

4) To leave the train is to _________.

a) depart the train
b) deplane the train
c) get off the train
Please comment below with your answers..

Image credit: Mystic~Light~Serenity Photography

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ESL learning: Articles a, an & the


The article “a” (which becomes “an” when the next word begins with a vowel – a, e, i, o, u) is called the indefinite article because the noun it goes with is indefinite or general. The meaning of the article a is similar to the number one, but one is stronger and gives more emphasis.

The article “the” is known as the definite article and indicates a specific thing. The difference between the sentences I sat on a chair and I sat on the chair is that the second sentence refers to a particular, specific chair, not just any chair.

Fill in the blank with the correct article: A, an or the

1. I just had __________ great idea.
2. She had ______ house so large that____ elephant would get lost without _____ map.
3. He was doing eighty miles __________ hour on __________ motorway.

We look forward to reading your answers below!

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Adjective or Adverb?

ETO-adjectives adverbs

Adjective: A word which describes, identifies or qualifies a noun or pronoun. An adjective usually, but not always, comes before the noun or the pronoun which it modifies.

For example: The cat is cute. The word “cute” is describing and modifying the noun cat.

Adverb: An adverb is a bit more flexible because it describes or modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. Unlike an adjective, an adverb can be found in various places within the sentence. Adverbs usually end in “ly” (but not always). An adverb indicates manner, time, place, cause, or degree and answers questions such as “how,” “when,” “where,” “how much”.

For example: The dog quickly ran to his owner. The word “quickly” describes and modifies the verb ran. It also answers the question “how”. How did the dog run? It ran “quickly”.

Let’s Practice! Find the adjective or adverb in each sentence and write your answers below.

1) The rabbit is fuzzy.

2) She chewed slowly.

3) The apple is red.

4) She is quite beautiful.

5) He speaks very slowly.

Please comment below with your answers..

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ESL Learning: Homophone


A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning.

For example “meet” and “meat”.

Meet: to come upon; to encounter
Meat: the edible flesh of animals

Can you tell us the difference between these homophones?
1- “ice-cream” versus “I scream”?
2-“euthanasia” versus. “Youth in Asia”

Please comment below with your answers..

For more fun English tips, feel free to book a free trial class with ETO today!

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ESL learning: Odd One Out

In the below image one of these things doesn’t belong. Two of them have something in common but one does not. Can you guess which one?



Great! Now take a guess as to which one could be the odd one out in these examples, and please, tell us your reasons.

1) banana, tomato, peach, apple
2) water, bottle, pencil, river
3) hotel, motel, town-house, classroom
4) hatred, fear, love, anger
Please comment below with your answers..

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Special Image credit: ETO’s teacher Karen 

ESL learning: Fill in the blanks

ETO-Harbin Festival

Image credit: Harbin Ice Festival in China

Have you ever heard of an ice sculpture, sculpting or the person who does it, a sculptor? How could a sculptor make such a masterpiece that brings chill bumps to the skin when viewed? This craftsman uses a variety of tools. Let’s try to figure out what these tools are. Come on! Give it a go!

Can you complete these sentences with the answer choices?

Ice Pick – Chainsaw – Steam gun – Chisel

A sculptor first uses a _____________ to carve ice into blocks, taken from the frozen surface of the Songhua River. He then uses a ____________ to melt, and sometimes weld pieces of ice together. Afterwards, the sculptor uses a __________, which is a characteristically shaped blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, metal or ice. The sculptor then uses an ___________ to break up, pick at, or chip at the ice.

Still guessing? Have you tried to find the tools on Google images yet? If you could sculpt a sculpture, what would it be, look like or symbolize?


Please comment below with your answers..

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ESL Learning: Cacti or Cactuses?


Cacti is the Latin plural of cactus, and some writers use it in English. Cactuses is the plural form in English. Dictionaries list both, and neither is right or wrong. Also, like many names of plants, the cactus is sometimes treated as plural.

Cactus is not the only Latin-derived English word ending in “us”, and most are conventionally pluralized in the English manner.

Can you name a few more?

Feel free to comment below…

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