Jan 22 2020


There’s a well-known tongue twister in English: “She sells seashells by the seashore.” It might be difficult to say, but it creates an interesting picture in your mind. A regular beachgoer will tell you that they’ve never seen anyone sell seashells because you can pick them up off the sand anywhere.

Seashells are like small houses for sea animals that live inside of them. By the time seashells wash up onto the beach, they are empty. Seashells come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some people collect them as souvenirs.

Jeff and Rafael talk about how much they like seashells. Learn more in today’s English lesson about ocean life.


Jeff: I just went to the beach the other day.

Rafael:  Oh, yeah? What did you see?

Jeff:  What an amazing ecosystem! I feel like people pay attention to the larger creatures, like sharks and whales.

Rafael:  They think it’s just about recreation, going to the beach. But there’s a habitat there.

Jeff:  Oh, yeah. One of the most beautiful parts of that are seashells. Just beautiful organisms. Amazing.

Rafael:  And they are technically organisms. You were really accurate when you used that term.

Jeff:  Also, in Hawaii, you’re not supposed to take rocks from the islands. But those are what make up the islands, these smaller creatures. They are what makes it beautiful in many ways. I just realized humans collect them. But they shouldn’t mess with it. They shouldn’t take those from their habitat.


Jeff and Rafael agree that the ocean is a beautiful habitat. Jeff describes seashells as organisms because sea animals once lived inside them.

He also tells Rafael about how he noticed that people collect seashells. Jeff thinks that seashells should stay on the beach. The seashells belong there because the beach is their habitat.

Do you collect seashells, or do you think seashells should be left on the beach?

Grammar Point

There, Their, & They’re

Rafael says, “They think it’s just about recreation… but there’s a habitat there.” And Jeff says that seashells should be left at the beach. He says, “They shouldn’t take those from their habitat.” There and their sound the same in spoken English but have different meanings.

It can be very confusing to know when to use there, their or they’re. Here are some helpful tips:

There is used to tell or show where something is, to refer to a place. For example, “There is a coffee shop down the street,” or, “The grocery store is over there.”

Their is a possessive adjective. Possessive adjectives are used to show ownership, or what belongs to whom. As an example, “The children are wearing their boots,” or, “They drink their tea with sugar.”

They’re is a contraction of they + are. For example, “They’re going to Paris this summer,” or, “I don’t know if they’re coming with us.”

Which is correct, “The teachers and their students are working on a project,” or, “The teachers and they’re students are working on a project”?


  1. In which habitat can you find seashells?

  2. Why do people collect seashells?

  3. Which is not an organism?

  4. Which sentence is correct?

See the full English lesson at English, baby!