Theirs vs. Their

What is the difference between 'theirs' and 'their'? They're both pronouns. They're both third-person plurals. But they are of different categories of pronouns.

The Difference between "theirs" and "their"

What Is Their Main Difference?

'Their' is a possessive determiner. It modifies a noun. 'Theirs', on the other hand, is a possessive pronoun; it comes alone and does not modify a noun.

Theirs

'Theirs' is the third-person plural possessive pronoun that is used to indicate that something belongs to a group of people or things. It can be used on its own to replace a noun phrase that includes a possessive adjective and a noun. Keep in mind that 'theirs' is always used as a complete word and can't be separated into 'their' and 's'. For example:

The car parked outside is theirs.

Sometimes, to show belonging, you can use the structure [Noun + 'of' + possessive pronoun].

He's a friend of theirs.

Their

'Their' is a possessive determiner that is used to indicate that something belongs to multiple people or things. It is used before a noun to show possession. For example:

They are going to send their son to military school.

'Their' is also used instead of 'his' or 'her' as a singular determiner' to refer to a person of unspecified gender when their gender is not relevant to the context. For example:

Every athlete should compete according to their weight.

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