[Grammar] article before the word "children"

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zajan

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Would you say it’s correct to always use an article before the word “children”, of course given the context of the sentence. If you are giving instructions to a care-giver, is it correct to say, “tell children to do such and such” or “have children read…etc…” I have corrected a friend who is not a native English speaker, saying it’s correct to use “the children” in such instances. But since I hear it being said incorrect all the time, I’m now unsure if I am just being nit-picky!

I realise if you are saying, "Children need to be protected or taught or whatever..." then it's fine to have no article before "children".


Secondly, is it correct to say "have each child say their name" OR "have each child say his or her name" can either be correct?

Thank you for your help.
 

Skrej

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If you're talking about a specific group of children, then the article is necessary. In your example of a caretaker, assuming you're giving instructions on how to care for your children, then yes the article is necessary.

In the unlikely event you're lecturing caretakers on how to care for children in general (perhaps you're some kind of trainer or instructor giving career advice for example), then you could leave off the article.

As to your second question, either one is acceptable usage nowadays. In the past, only 'his or her' would have been deemed acceptable on grounds of number agreement, but the plural possessive is widely used and accepted now. I doubt you'd find many who'd consider it grammatically incorrect these days.

Edit: Perhaps I should amend that last statement to 'many who would object to its usage'. There probably are still a fair number who'd consider it grammatically incorrect, but acknowldege the current trending change in usage.
 
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Tdol

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I doubt you'd find many who'd consider it grammatically incorrect these days.

And if you do come across them, I would recommend ignoring them. The few who maintain this are a dwindling band- it's simply easier to use their here. They're in much the same territory as those who claim that It's me is a terrible mistake.
 

Tdol

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And have you not heard of the English teacher who arrives at heaven and uses It is I when asked if she is xxx, and is told to go down below as they have enough of her kind? One may get to meet her. :-D
 

emsr2d2

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You are the sort of person whom I believe likes to dumb down English. This attitude shall find it's come-uppance in the hereafter.

:shock:
 

Rover_KE

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Deliberate. Like the 'whom' and 'shall'. Humour.


Failed again.
Tough crowd.:roll:

I came close to fixing it — as per.:cool:
 
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