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Thread: Problem

  1. #1
    shaukat mahmood is offline Junior Member
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    Default Problem

    Please tell me as which of the given sentences is incorrect in the use of its pronouns,by giving some examples.

    i) If a person wants to succeed,he should work ...........
    ii)If a person wants to succeed,one should work ...........
    iii)If someone wants to succeed,one should work ...........
    iv)If someone wants to succeed,he should work ...........


    Thanks.

    Shaukat.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Problem

    You can't use "one" as a pronoun to stand in for "a person" or "someone" in quite this manner; you'd have to rewrite sentences ii and iii as:

    If one wants to succeed, one should work...

    This pronoun is occasionally useful, but suffers one major drawback: It sounds too old-fashioned and pompous for most purposes. That's a pity, because in this politically correct world, using "he" in such sentences is seen as sexist, and should therefore be avoided.

    Various techniques have been tried, not all of them very elegant. One such is to write "he/she" or "(s)he", but it looks ugly and how are you supposed to pronounce it? You could write "he or she" or "she or he", but that quickly becomes tiresome. Some writers alternate between "he" and "she", but I find that quite irritating.

    An alternative is to simply use the plural -- it's not always possible, but it usually is, and it is then the simplest and most elegant solution: "If people want to succeed, they should work..."

    It's also possible to use "they" with a singular antecedent: "If a person wants to succeed, they should work..." This technique is actually hundreds of years old, but fell into disuse a few generations ago and is thus seen by some readers as "new-fangled" or simply "grammatically incorrect"; it certainly looks strange if you've never seen it before.

    In this case, though, you can avoid the issue altogether by recasting the sentence like this:

    A person wanting to succeed should work...
    Anyone wanting to succeed should work...

    Now, "wanting to succeed" is an adjective (actually, it's an "adjectival phrase"), and we only have one clause -- so no need for a pronoun.

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by shaukat mahmood View Post
    Please tell me as which of the given sentences is incorrect in the use of its pronouns,by giving some examples.

    i) If a person wants to succeed,he should work ...........
    ii)If a person wants to succeed,one should work ...........
    iii)If someone wants to succeed,one should work ...........
    iv)If someone wants to succeed,he should work ...........


    Thanks.

    Shaukat.
    There is a rule for using "one" as a pronoun.

    When one uses "one" as a pronoun in one's sentence, one must continue to use "one" until one's sentence is concluded.

    It is a reminder that one can't switch back and forth from "one" to other pronouns.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post
    ...Various techniques have been tried, not all of them very elegant. One such is to write "he/she" or "(s)he", but it looks ugly and how are you supposed to pronounce it? You could write "he or she" or "she or he", but that quickly becomes tiresome. Some writers alternate between "he" and "she", but I find that quite irritating.
    Some, more militant, writers use "she" all the time, to make up for the millions of times that people have used "he" in such cases. This can be most disconcerting - it makes you stop and think (which I guess is the reason for doing it).

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    There is a rule for using "one" as a pronoun.

    When one uses "one" as a pronoun in one's sentence, one must continue to use "one" until one's sentence is concluded.

    It is a reminder that one can't switch back and forth from "one" to other pronouns.
    Thanks Mike. I've long thought that this particular barbarism* was the norm in AmE; is it quite common in your neck of the woods?

    * I put this word in especially for riverkid, who I suspect may have something to say.

    b

  5. #5
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Some, more militant, writers use "she" all the time, to make up for the millions of times that people have used "he" in such cases. This can be most disconcerting - it makes you stop and think (which I guess is the reason for doing it).



    Thanks Mike. I've long thought that this particular barbarism* was the norm in AmE; is it quite common in your neck of the woods?

    * I put this word in especially for riverkid, who I suspect may have something to say.

    b
    I first heard it from a British engineer, but I agree with it.

    Try these ear clangers:

    If you want to be successful, one should study hard.
    One should study hard, then they will be successful.
    One's problems are his own business.

    This "barbarism" is a good one.

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