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    #1

    grammer question

    Dear teachers,
    I found this sentence in a course:
    "Someone in their retirement is called a senior citizen."
    so I wondred why they used their and not his?, because as we know someone is an indefinite pronoun and we use it with a singular verb, ex:someone wants to talk with you.
    I'll be very thankful if someone helps me to solve this problem.
    Thank you very much. .

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Wink Re: grammer question

    Quote Originally Posted by sara88 View Post
    Dear teachers,
    I found this sentence in a course:
    "Someone in their retirement is called a senior citizen."
    so I wondred why they used their and not his?, because as we know someone is an indefinite pronoun and we use it with a singular verb, ex:someone wants to talk with you.
    I'll be very thankful if someone helps me to solve this problem.
    Thank you very much. .
    In English, someone/somebody as the subject of a sentence takes a singular verb (you pointed it out in your post already):

    Someone/Somebody wants to talk to you.

    Now, if you'd like to refer to someone/somebody, then you normally use the subject form they, the object form them, or the possessive determiner their:

    A: Mrs Patterson, someone wants to talk to you.
    B: Did they not tell you what they want to talk about?
    A: No.
    B: Alright then. Bring them in. We don't want to waste their time, do you?


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    #3

    Re: grammer question

    Quote Originally Posted by sara88 View Post
    Dear teachers,
    I found this sentence in a course:
    "Someone in their retirement is called a senior citizen."
    so I wondred why they used their and not his?, because as we know someone is an indefinite pronoun and we use it with a singular verb, ex:someone wants to talk with you.
    I'll be very thankful if someone helps me to solve this problem.
    Thank you very much. .
    I would have used the following sentences, I am open to corection though

    1. Someone in his/her retirement is called a senior citizen.
    2. People in their retirement are called senior citizens.


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    #4

    Re: grammer question

    Singular "their" is an old usage and is commonly accepted as a neutral pronoun.

    For anyone interested in this ongoing argument, this is a good outline of its history: Singular "their" in Jane Austen and elsewhere: Anti-pedantry page

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    #5

    Thumbs up Re: grammer question

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Singular "their" is an old usage and is commonly accepted as a neutral pronoun.

    For anyone interested in this ongoing argument, this is a good outline of its history: Singular "their" in Jane Austen and elsewhere: Anti-pedantry page
    I got really impressed after reading the article. A very interesting one.
    Thanks, Anglika.


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    #6

    Re: grammer question

    Thank you very much for your responses...but I still have some doubts about the use of singular their..
    anyway, I think we don't need to use it a lot, so we can keep using clear sentences...
    Thank you again.

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    #7

    Smile Re: grammer question

    Quote Originally Posted by arunp View Post
    I would have used the following sentences, I am open to corection though

    1. Someone in his/her retirement is called a senior citizen.
    2. People in their retirement are called senior citizens.
    Me too! Especially, it's about taking a test/an exam in school/college or at university. Same applies to formal writing such as application letters, government correspondence and compositions/essays, etc.

    In day-to-day conversations, one can use the "they" form for the third person whose gender is unknown to the speaker.

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