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Thread: Its vs Their

  1. #1
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    Default Its vs Their

    Hi guys

    I am having a problem regarding some pronuns like 'ITS vs THEIR' in sentences like

    1.The jury made its decision.
    2.The jury were divided in their opnion.

    Now here i am unable to decide what should be used .....

    and secondly i have got some ambiguities regarding 'THEM VS THEY'

    We scored as many goals as THEY/THEM
    None so blind as THEY/THEM that will not see.

    If u can elaborate on my question it would be very helpful

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Its vs Their

    1.The jury made its decision.
    The speaker is seeing the jury as a single entity, because a jury gives a collective opinion, a single finding as to guilt or innocence.

    2.The jury were divided in their opinion.
    Here, the jury is being referred to as being made up of individuals, the twelve people who comprised the jury, since the opinion of these individuals was divided, and they could not, as a single entity, enter a finding one way or the other (if all members had to be in agreement, as opposed to a majority decision (10 or 11).

    The most common form of the expression is, "There are none so blind as those that will not see." While some may think this comes from the Bible, it is a rephrasing of the essence of something found there, so we don't have an authoritative reference, such as the King James' Bible.
    Colloquially, you will hear people say something like, "We're as good as them!" when grammatically, it should be 'they": "We're as good as they are."
    So - best advice: if speaking just to friends, use the short version and say 'them'.
    In a formal situation, use the long version and use the nominative form of the pronoun - after all, saying "We're as good as them are" is worst of all!
    Last edited by David L.; 13-Mar-2009 at 19:09.

  3. #3
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Its vs Their

    I'll just add a note that in American English, we tend to refer to groups as it, while the British are more likely to call a group they.

    So here in the U.S., the army is, while in Britain, the army are.

    You're probably studying British English, so do what David says.

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    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Its vs Their

    Quote Originally Posted by *Rahul* View Post
    We scored as many goals as THEY/THEM
    In the U.S., we have two ideals that often conflict. On the one hand, many* of us like using good grammar, for all the reasons you can imagine.

    On the other hand, most of us do not want to sound snooty, high-brow, superior, pedantic, academic, elitist. Even though it might not be true, we enjoy believing we're a populist nation.

    These two virtues run into grave conflict in sentences like yours above. They is grammatical but sounds snooty. Them is wrong but sounds more down-to earth.

    So, many educated Americans will rephrase it by adding did: "We scored as many goals as they did." It's grammatical, but it doesn't sound snooty.

    We go into similar contortions over the word whom. We hate that word!


    *David might feel that my use of this word is somewhat extravagant.

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    Default Re: Its vs Their

    I remember an English teacher saying, with reference to the tricky problems that occur when speaking the English language, that there's always a way to get round them by rephrasing.

    So, many educated Americans will rephrase it by adding did:

    Good ol' American know-how!

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    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Its vs Their

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post

    We go into similar contortions over the word whom. We hate that word!

    I wonder how you can do without it, say, in a sentence like:

    There were dozens of fans in the street, most of whom had iron rods.

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    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Its vs Their

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    I wonder how you can do without it, say, in a sentence like:

    There were dozens of fans in the street. Most of them had iron rods.
    Come on, give me a tough one!

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    Clark is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Its vs Their

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Come on, give me a tough one!
    You wouldn't dare correct Hemingway, would you?

    'For Whom the Bell Tolls'


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    Default Re: Its vs Their

    And in this corner we have Ernest H, user and defender of the King's English, and in the opposing corner, a New Wave American (and probably a Republican), Charlie B.
    Hopefully*, folks, this will get ugly. The crowd favourite, Ernie, opens with a sure use of 'whom' which Charlie B. parries with a quick duck and a ...yes... it's a period...and a rephrasing.
    No real fireworks yet, folks.


    I've done enough postings on 'regretfully' versus 'regretably', 'hopefully' versus "I hope" to know what I"m doing. Give me some slack.
    Last edited by David L.; 13-Mar-2009 at 21:42.

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    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Its vs Their

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    You wouldn't dare correct Hemingway, would you?

    'For Whom the Bell Tolls'

    I don't mind correcting Ernest Hemingway. It's John Donne I'm worried about....

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