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  1. #1
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    Default plural pronouns with singular nouns.

    Hi

    I already know that words like "team" that emply a group of people, require they when you use a pronoun. But what with "anybody", "somebody"? I think it's "they" as well, but can you confirm? And what about words like "mankind". And "progeny"?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: plural pronouns with singular nouns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Interventizio View Post
    Hi

    I already know that words like "team" that emply a group of people, require "they" when you use a pronoun.
    Actually, they don't. You can refer to a team as "it" or "they" depending on your focus.

    But what with "anybody", "somebody"? I think it's "they" as well, but can you confirm?
    You can use a singular "they" for these if necessary.
    Anybody who forgot to bring their assignment, please see me after the class.

    And what about words like "mankind". And "progeny"?
    I'd use the singular for "mankind"
    Thank you in advance.
    R.
    Last edited by Raymott; 11-May-2010 at 07:02. Reason: change a mistake

  3. #3
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: plural pronouns with singular nouns.

    "Team" and some other collective nouns can be treated as singular or plural depending on context, therefore "it" or "they" is OK.
    •The team plays (it plays) according to its schedule. (unit = singular)
    •The team couldn't agree (they couldn't agree) on their goals. (individuals = plural)

    Somebody, anybody, nobody are singular pronouns an take a singular verb form.
    Mankind/Progeny = singular/it

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    Default Re: plural pronouns with singular nouns.

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    "Team" and some other collective nouns can be treated as singular or plural depending on context, therefore "it" or "they" is OK.
    •The team plays (it plays) according to its schedule. (unit = singular)
    •The team couldn't agree (they couldn't agree) on their goals. (individuals = plural)

    Somebody, anybody, nobody are singular pronouns an take a singular verb form.
    Mankind/Progeny = singular/it
    Yes, you're right about "mankind". I've amended my post.

    And I agree that 'anybody etc.' take a singular verb form, but the question was what preposition they take.

    If you know the sex of "anybody", you'd write, "Anybody who forgot to bring his (her) assignment ...
    Otherwise, you can use "his/her assignment", "his or her assignment", "their assignment", or change the sentence to avoid the problem: "Students who have forgotten to bring their assignments, see me after the class".
    Note, however, that "they" is not a plural pronoun when it's used in this case. It's a singular "they" - just as 'you' has identical singular and plural forms.

    Hows that?

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    Default Re: plural pronouns with singular nouns.

    I don't think I disagree with your post but at the same time I don't think I fully understand the reference to "preposition" and "they". Did the original post mean possessive adjective (his, her, their etc.) not preposition and your post "their" not "they"?

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    Default Re: plural pronouns with singular nouns.

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    I don't think I disagree with your post but at the same time I don't think I fully understand the reference to "preposition" and "they". Did the original post mean possessive adjective (his, her, their etc.) not preposition and your post "their" not "they"?
    Sorry, I meant "pronoun" as per the thread title and the question, not "preposition". Yes, it would be a possessive adjective in the example I gave. But the pronoun is also relevant:
    If anybody is late, they need to see me after class. I mean all cases/forms of the pronoun "they", including the possessive adjective.

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    Default Re: plural pronouns with singular nouns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Sorry, I meant "pronoun" as per the thread title and the question, not "preposition". Yes, it would be a possessive adjective in the example I gave. But the pronoun is also relevant:
    If anybody is late, they need to see me after class. I mean all cases/forms of the pronoun "they", including the possessive adjective.
    OK thanks. Now I understand.

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    ~Mav~ is offline Member
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    Lightbulb Re: plural pronouns with singular nouns.

    This blog entry by Tdol may be relevant to this topic.

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