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    #1

    'Everyone will burn for his sins'

    I was reading this GMAT book from 1999, and there was this sentence correction that claimed that since 'everyone' is an indefinite pronoun of the first type, any pronoun referring to it should also be singular. Normally, I would have chose 'their' instead of 'his', but I am not sure, so I am asking you if the previous mentioned rule still applies today.

    The complete correct sentence according to the book: 'The preacher said that everyone will burn in eternal damnation for his sins.'
    Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.
    - Leonardo da Vinci

  1. Roman55's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: 'Everyone will burn for his sins'

    I am not a teacher.

    Everyone is singular. The definitive proof is the verb which will always be 3rd person singular.
    This is what everyone wants. Everyone knows… Everyone is going to… and so on.

    The other issue is one of gender neutrality. Everyone will burn for his sins = Each one will burn for his sins. 'His sins' used to be correct (and hasn't become incorrect yet) but is not acceptable by everyone as it uses the masculine pronoun rather than a gender neutral one. Since there is no singular gender neutral pronoun in English, the plural they/their/them are used. This usage has been in the language for many centuries, but it is only recently that it has become a touchy subject for some people. So, the use of a plural or singular pronoun has nothing to do with the word 'everyone', and everything to do with political correctness.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: 'Everyone will burn for his sins'

    Once upon a time, the default gender was male in this situation. However, over the years, more and more people have felt that it is non-inclusive to use "he/him/his" all the time. It has been called discriminatory, sexist and many other things.

    Consequently, these days, you have a choice between "Everyone will burn in hell for his/her sins" or "Everyone will burn in hell for their sins". They're all acceptable. Many people wouldn't notice if you only used "his" but plenty of people would notice.

    It remains true that a singular verb should always follow "Everyone".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: 'Everyone will burn for his sins'

    Another way to deal with the issue is to recast the sentence in the plural: "all people will burn in eternal damnation for their sins".

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