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    #1

    Indefinite pronouns

    Hello
    Could you please check if the pronouns in the following phrase are used correctly.
    It is so noisy that noone can hear anything. If somebody (anybody) keeps talking, he will leave the room.
    Thank you

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    #2

    Re: Indefinite pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by svetik View Post
    Hello
    Could you please check if the pronouns in the following phrase are used correctly.
    It is so noisy that noone can hear anything. If somebody (anybody) keeps talking, he will leave the room.
    Thank you
    (NOT a teacher) Very interesting warning to your students. You might say: It is so noisy that no one can hear anything. If anybody keeps talking, he will have to leave the room. NOTE 1: If you have both male and female students, you should say "he or she will have to...." Most Americans use "incorrect" English and say "they will have to leave.... Of course, "he" is still correct but no longer socially acceptable. (2) If you say " If SOMEbody keeps...." that means you have a particular student in mind. That's why you should use "ANYbody." It's a general warning. You are NOT referring to a particular person.


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    #3

    Re: Indefinite pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (NOT a teacher) Very interesting warning to your students. You might say: It is so noisy that no one can hear anything. If anybody keeps talking, he will have to leave the room. NOTE 1: If you have both male and female students, you should say "he or she will have to...." Most Americans use "incorrect" English and say "they will have to leave.... Of course, "he" is still correct but no longer socially acceptable. (2) If you say " If SOMEbody keeps...." that means you have a particular student in mind. That's why you should use "ANYbody." It's a general warning. You are NOT referring to a particular person.
    Unless of course you were using rhetoric, and inferring that you know who the person is that is doing the talking, but didn't want to make this blatantly obvious! But for the purposes of this, yes, "anybody" is correct.

    I find that the use of 'anybody' is strange though. It sounds more natural (to me) to say, "It's so noisy that no one can hear anything. If people keep talking, *pronoun* will leave the room."

    Also, about that pronoun. I'm not sure why it is 'he'. Are you talking about the class in general, of which you are a student in, or about someone specific? If it is the class in general it would be appropriate to say 'we will leave'.

    I don't know who you are saying will leave, however. Certainly, the 'he' is ambiguous, and hasn't been introduced yet in this statement.

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    #4

    Re: Indefinite pronouns

    Thank you for a clear and detailed explanation.
    In the original phrase, the teacher is addressing to the whole class which is mixed.
    So, as far as I understood, it sounds more naturally if one says,"If anybody keeps talking, he or she will leave the room."

  1. lauralie2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Indefinite pronouns

    "If anybody keeps talking" just doesn't sound like English to me. Indefinite "anybody" doesn't seem to go well with "keeps talking". I don't know why that is but I think the pronoun needs a referent as in "If someone (ahem John) keeps talking, he will have to leave the room."

    LL

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    #6

    Re: Indefinite pronouns

    I'd suggest:
    Anyone who continues to talk will be asked to leave the room
    ... will be told to leave the room
    ... will be sent from the room

    (Parser: Look up the history of using "they" and "their" for a unisex third-person singular pronoun and you'll find it goes back hundreds of years, to before the US existed,so I'd suggest your statement that Americans use it "incorrectly" is, in fact, incorrect.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: Indefinite pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    "If anybody keeps talking" just doesn't sound like English to me. Indefinite "anybody" doesn't seem to go well with "keeps talking". I don't know why that is but I think the pronoun needs a referent as in "If someone (ahem John) keeps talking, he will have to leave the room."

    LL
    But if you don't refer to anyone in particular, is there a correct way to express the idea?

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Indefinite pronouns

    You don't approve of my suggestion?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.


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    #9

    Re: Indefinite pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I'd suggest:
    Anyone who continues to talk will be asked to leave the room
    ... will be told to leave the room
    ... will be sent from the room

    (Parser: Look up the history of using "they" and "their" for a unisex third-person singular pronoun and you'll find it goes back hundreds of years, to before the US existed,so I'd suggest your statement that Americans use it "incorrectly" is, in fact, incorrect.)
    Ah! Of course! It just his me what this means!

    I thought the original sentence meant 'If people keep talking, you will have to leave the room' as in, the whole class! My goodness, that was very silly of me.

    Yes, Svetik. Barb_D or TheParser's suggestion is right. I understand now you mean if the person who is talking doesn't stop, you will send that person out of the room.

    As for not referring to anyone in particular, Barb_D's suggestion was good.

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