I was sitting on the floor, picking the black jellybeans out of my handful of Easter candy when my cousin said, “Hey, Jenny, do you feel an earthquake right now?” I considered her question, realized that I did feel the earth rolling under my butt and said, “I think so.” We confirmed it by noting the chandelier was swaying and back and forth.
The nonchalance with which we regarded the earthquake reminded me of that scene in L.A. Story, the fabulous 1991 Steve Martin movie that parodies L.A., in which there is a huge earthquake during lunch and nobody even flinches.
Let's see, what other L.A.isms are there in the movie? There’s a great scene where everyone loads their guns as soon as they get on the freeway. There's this awesome scene with SJP:
And, Steve Martin’s character, a weatherman, pre-tapes the weather because it is always sunny in Los Angeles- but then it rains.
Actually, we deal with the word there similarly to how Steve Martin dealt with L.A. weather. As we know, their and they’re also exist, but because there is the most common, we use it without considering the other options- but sometimes we are wrong.
So, even though there is a 75% chance of clear skies when you use there, there is also a 25% chance of storms. So, let’s review when to use their and they’re:
Their means something belongs to them:
I hope they brought their Gucci umbrellas.
The Gucci umbrellas belong to them.
A little trick to remember that their indicates possession is that their includes the word heir, and heirs inherit possessions.
They're is simply a shortened version of they are:
They're afraid to get their Gucci umbrellas wet.
In all other cases, we get to use there.
So, the moral of the story: don’t assume that because something is a certain way most of the time it’s that way all of the time.
Perhaps, if Steve Martin was more conscientious when creating his weather report, he could have protected the cats and the weenies: