I'd like to ask if "one's" can be used in the following sentence instead of "his or her":
International standards state that restrictions imposed on freedom of information to protect the right of a person to one’s image can be applied to an image of a person so that it’s not used in purely commercial purposes.
Last edited by KLPNO; 18-Nov-2008 at 14:21.
Sorry to disagree but in fact, no, you couldn’t substitute one’s for his or her here. One is only used to talk about people in general, and is not used to refer to an individual*. In your sentence, the personal pronoun refers back to an individual, “a person”.
*“Practical English Usage”, Michael Swan, OUP 1988, rubric 440
I neither understand or accept that, Naomi.
Contrary to popular opinion, I can be taught, however.
So teach me why, again? Your explanation is not too clear. The reference above was to people / persons in general, not to one person specifically.
I agree, Swan’s explanation may not be that clear for a sentence like the one KLPNO gives.
The grammarians, Thomson and Martinet*, both authorities, give and exemplify a rule that is easier to understand, I think:
“If instead of one or you we use a singular noun, the possessive adjective will obviously be his or her:
One must do one’s best.
A traveller has to guard his possessions.” (note his, not one’s)
In the second sentence, the singular noun is a traveller but a traveller here does not refer to one person specifically.
I think what T and M are saying is:
If your subject is one, you can (or must) follow on with one: One must do one’s best
But if your subject is a singular noun you have to follow on with his or her: A traveller has to guard his possessions
In. KLPNO’s sentence, the subject is a singular noun (“a person”) so you have to follow on with his or her.
Hope T and M's explanation is clearer.
*A.J.Thomson and A.V. Martinet, “A Practical English Grammar”, Fourth Edition, rubric 68 you, one and they as indefinite pronouns