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    #1

    Mr. Brown and their or his daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.

    Mrs. Brown was born on May 22nd,1967. Tomorrow is her birthday. Mr. Brown and their daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.
    (from a textbook)

    I wonder if
    their in the last sentence should be changed to his.
    Thanks a lot in advance.
    Last edited by touchstone; 05-Feb-2017 at 02:43.

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Mr. Brown and their or his daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.

    "Their" should almost certainly not be changed to "it". "Their" implies that Mr Brown is her father and Mrs Brown is her mother. Changing "their" to "his" opens up other logical possibilities which are unlikely to be correct.

    The most likely of these possibilities in my opinion is that the context of the narrative is more concerned with Mr Brown's lineage than Mrs Brown's. That is possible, and if so "his" would be correct, although not necessarily preferable to "their."

    It is also possible that the daughter is Mr Brown's by another woman

    The final logical possibility is that the author considers male parentage to be more significant than female parentage. This is quite possible in some cultures, but highly unlikely in this context of Mr and Mrs Brown.
    Last edited by probus; 05-Feb-2017 at 03:30.

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    #3

    Re: Mr. Brown and their or his daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.

    Their is appropriate because the text has just mentioned both Mr. and Mrs. Brown.

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    #4

    Re: Mr. Brown and their or his daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    "Their" implies that Mr Brown is her father and Mrs Brown is her mother. Changing "theor
    Thanks, probus.

    Here is the rest part of the passage.
    Mary would like to cook a big dinner. Mr. Brown wants to buy some beautiful flowers for Mrs. Brown. ...
    I don't think it's necessary to say Mary would like to cook a big dinner.

    Maybe Mary wants to cook a big dinner is more natural.What do you say?
    Thanks again.
    Last edited by touchstone; 05-Feb-2017 at 03:38.

  5. probus's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Mr. Brown and their or his daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.

    Not rest part. Just rest.

    "Wants to" and "would like to" are pretty much identical to me.

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    #6

    Re: Mr. Brown and their or his daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    Not rest part. Just rest.

    "Wants to" and "would like to" are pretty much identical to me.
    Some books say would like to is milder and more polite. Is that true?
    Thanks again.

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    #7

    Re: Mr. Brown and their or his daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.

    Not in the context of your sentence.

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    #8

    Re: Mr. Brown and their or his daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.

    "would like" is slightly more polite (or, at least, less forceful) when making some sort of request or asking a question/making an offer.

    I would like you to open your books to page 12.
    I want you to open ...

    Would you like some tea?
    Do you want some tea?

    What would you like?
    What do you want?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #9

    Re: Mr. Brown and their or his daughter, Mary, are planning to celebrate it.

    It's an artificial text, so even when it's grammatically and logically correct, it won't sound like something a native speaker would say or write.

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