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  1. #1
    Nuh Yamin is offline Newbie
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    'Their' refers to 'somebody'

    Hi,
    Why 'their' used here? why not 'his/her'?
    "Protection given by a state to somebody who has left their own country, especially for political reason".
    The definition of 'asylum' from Oxford Advance Learner's Dictionary.
    Please make it clear.
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: 'Their' refers to 'somebody'

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuh Yamin View Post
    Hi,
    Why 'their' used here? why not 'his/her'?
    "Protection given by a state to somebody who has left their own country, especially for political reason".
    The definition of 'asylum' from Oxford Advance Learner's Dictionary.
    Please make it clear.
    Thanks in advance
    Look up "singular they". There have been many posts on this.

  3. #3
    Nightmare85's Avatar
    Nightmare85 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: 'Their' refers to 'somebody'

    **Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.**

    Hi,
    Why is 'their' used here? Why not 'his/her'?
    Their = Both female and male.
    If you just say "her", you will talk about females only.
    If you just say "his", you will talk about males only.

    Everybody has their own problems.

    I hope I could help you.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
    Nuh Yamin is offline Newbie
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    Re: 'Their' refers to 'somebody'

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    **Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.**

    Hi,


    Their = Both female and male.
    If you just say "her", you will talk about females only.
    If you just say "his", you will talk about males only.

    Everybody has their own problems.

    I hope I could help you.

    Cheers!
    I don't understand that.
    In your example:
    Every body has their(shouldn't it be his/her) own problems.
    His/her = male and female.
    Am I right?

    I am new here and still find my way round. Where can I look up the previous threads about this?

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: 'Their' refers to 'somebody'

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuh Yamin View Post
    I don't understand that.
    In your example:
    Every body has their(shouldn't it be his/her) own problems.
    His/her = male and female.
    Am I right?

    I am new here and still find my way round. Where can I look up the previous threads about this?
    Basically, in order to avoid having to write "his/her" everytime we want to refer to a non-specific gender, or just a general "somebody", we use "their".


    For example:

    The person who wrote that book must be very intelligent. They used some very long, complicated words in their book. (You have no idea if the author is male or female). The use of "they/their" avoids us having to write "He/she used some very long, complicated words in his/her book", which is messy.

  6. #6
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    Re: 'Their' refers to 'somebody'

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuh Yamin View Post
    Hi,
    Why 'their' used here? why not 'his/her'?
    "Protection given by a state to somebody who has left their own country, especially for political reason".
    The definition of 'asylum' from Oxford Advance Learner's Dictionary.
    Please make it clear.
    Thanks in advance
    As emsr2d2 has indicated, the introduction of "their" in such a sentence is a result of the attempt to avoid the formerly ubiquitous and gender-specific "his."

    But is it correct? It does seem that many people, including teachers, are allowing it as a possibility, but there are still many of us who hang on to the singular. We would tend to use his/her or (as I prefer to do) vary it so that it is "his" one time and "her" the next. I know that this can be confusing, but most people seem to understand what is being intended.

    I would also try to find ways of rephrasing the sentence so as to avoid the problem altogether.

    In your case, for instance, I might write, "Protection given by a state to people who have left their own country, especially for a political reason".

    I know there are strong opinions about this out there about this. I'm always happy to see a range of views on how our language is -- and should be -- evolving.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: 'Their' refers to 'somebody'

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuh Yamin View Post
    I don't understand that.
    In your example:
    Every body has their(shouldn't it be his/her) own problems.
    His/her = male and female.
    Am I right?

    I am new here and still find my way round. Where can I look up the previous threads about this?
    Here's one:
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...why-their.html

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