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Thread: Someone/Someone

  1. #1
    Volcano1985's Avatar
    Volcano1985 is offline Senior Member
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    Someone/Someone

    If someone doesn't want to do something, someone makes an excuse.

    If someone doesn't want to do something, makes an excuse.


    Should I repeat someone?How would you make this sentence?

  2. #2
    maral55 is offline Member
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    Re: Someone/Someone

    I don't think the first sentence would be correct beacuse it leads me to the meaning that if someone doesn't want to do something then somebody else makes an excuse. the secend sentence seems more acceptable to me.


    Additionaly, I have heard this sentence in this way that they say : if someone doesn't want to do something, he/she would make an excuse.


    I am not a teacher though, I may be wrong.

  3. #3
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Re: Someone/Someone

    #1 is correct
    #2 is wrong - you cannot drop the subject in the main clause

    Anyway, read about epicene pronouns:

    § 4. epicene pronouns. 5. Gender. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996

  4. #4
    Ikim is offline Newbie
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    Re: Someone/Someone

    First of all, I am not an English teacher. However, that kind of indefinite pronouns are usually referred to with personal pronoun they.

    Corrected sentence:
    If someone doesn't want to do something, they make an excuse.

    It is of course possible to use he/she but that is a lot clumsier.

  5. #5
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    Re: Someone/Someone

    What about this:

    If one doesn't want to do something, one makes an excuse.

  6. #6
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Re: Someone/Someone

    Quote Originally Posted by maral55 View Post
    Additionaly, I have heard this sentence in this way that they say : if someone doesn't want to do something, he/she would make an excuse.
    Grammar Girl :: Generic Singular Pronouns

  7. #7
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Re: Someone/Someone

    Quote Originally Posted by Volcano1985 View Post
    What about this:

    If one doesn't want to do something, one makes an excuse.
    correct, but has strong archaic flavor

  8. #8
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Re: Someone/Someone

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikim View Post
    First of all, I am not an English teacher. However, that kind of indefinite pronouns are usually referred to with personal pronoun they.

    Corrected sentence:
    [I]If someone doesn't want to do something, they make an excuse.
    generic pronoun - definition and examples of generic pronoun

    but on the other hand:

    Some Common Grammar and Usage Mistakes in Undergraduate Philosophy Papers

    "They" and "their" are plural pronouns, not singular ones. So the following sentence isn't grammatically correct: "Chisholm thinks that for someone to be responsible for their actions, they have to have the ability to do otherwise." "Someone" is a singular pronoun, whereas "their" and "they" are plural pronouns. The following sentence contains a similar mistake: "A person who cares only about their own happiness will not achieve happiness."

  9. #9
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Re: Someone/Someone

    So here's the bottom line: Rewrite your sentences to avoid the problem. If that's not possible, check to see if the people you are writing for have a style guide. If not, use he or she if you want to play it safe, or use they if you feel bold and are prepared to defend yourself.

    Grammar Girl :: Generic Singular Pronouns

    People who do not want to do something make an excuse.
    Last edited by svartnik; 08-May-2009 at 17:43.

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