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"His or Her", "His", or "Their"?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by D'Snowth, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Whenever people address something that belongs to an unknown, they usually say "somebody forgot their..." or "someone is trying to hide their..." et cetera.

    According to my English curiculum, the correct way to say something like that is "his" as in "somebody forgot his..." and "someone is trying to hide his..."

    However, in the past, my English books (and other text books) has said the actual way to say it is "his OR her" because of the possibility of that unknown being a man or a woman "somebody forgot his or her..." and "someone is trying to hide his or her..."

    As of right now, a lot of people say "their" is as acceptable as "his or her", but some other more literate people say that people say "their" because it's quicker and they are possibly too lazy to actually say "his or her".

    In the old days I used to say "his", but since then I've been saying "their" though I have been trying to "convert" to "his or her" since my current English text say it's more correct.

    What were you taught about this?
  2. Beakerfan

    Beakerfan Active Member

    wow. I'm tired right now, so all this is a little mind boggling. Um, I believe I was taught to say "someone for got his..." if it was unknown whether the subject was male or female. I think the his or her thing could get a little confusing. And frustrating.
  3. MWoO

    MWoO Active Member

    People say their because it's shorter than his or her while still avoiding the inevitable, "why does it have to be a man?" stuff. Some books actually alternate between his and her in a paragraph, which is really annoying.

    Frankly, I say drop the pc stuff and just use his or hes, but stick to one.
  4. Sgt Floyd

    Sgt Floyd Well-Known Member

    I was taught that "His" was a default gender when talking about something unknown, but this was from my elementary teachers who didnt know how to do a simple Order of operation math problem :p I just say "their"
  5. MWoO

    MWoO Active Member

    Well their is gramatically incorect, though i do usei t.

    His is usually the default because men were in charge when the anguage came about.
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Another one that's interesting it the classic "Can I?" and "May I?" Most people say you only ask "can I" to obtain permission to do something and "may I" when you already have permission but ask to do whatever it is you're doing anyway.

    Either way, I always ask "can I?" because you never know if you already have permission or not.
  7. MWoO

    MWoO Active Member

    No, that's not hat the difference between can and may is.

    May is asking for permission. Can is having the ability to do it. In elementary school you can use the bathroom, as in you have the ability to, but you must ask may I if you want permission to go.
  8. MGov

    MGov New Member

    Ever seen the film AVALON?
  9. Fragglemuppet

    Fragglemuppet Well-Known Member

    Well, I wasn't really taught much of anything on the subject, except for being told once that "his/her" was the thing to say in such an occasion. This, in my oppinion sounds extremely awkward and overly PC. Having little to no patience for overly PC people, I choose to always say "their."

    And no, I have never seen the movie. Why do you ask?
  10. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Again, what's with all this being "politically correct"?! What does politics have to do with things like that anyway?
  11. MWoO

    MWoO Active Member

    It's for people who get easily offened. If you always say "him" you will get the person who says "well why does it have to be a him? Why can't t be a her?" Normally, these people should be smacked and told to shut up so you may continue with what you are saying. Sadly, people on't do that o now we have "him or her" to make some people feel bette.
  12. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    MWoO, I just wanted to thank you because FINALLY someone has explained to me this whole being "politically correct" thing is all about.
  13. MWoO

    MWoO Active Member

    I just wish my key board was't so old as it left out like 15 lettersfrom that post.
  14. Sgt Floyd

    Sgt Floyd Well-Known Member

    Someone said that to my teacher once:crazy:
  15. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I do say "their" sometimes, though I know it's not correct. It makes no sense to me to say "his" when you might be talking about a woman.
  16. Skye

    Skye Active Member

    Yeah, it doesn't bother me if someone says "his" either, though I've never actually heard anyone say that before. I pretty much always say "their" just because I'm so used to hearing it, so I don't really think about it. I don't remember what I was actually taught about this, though, haha.
  17. MWoO

    MWoO Active Member

    The sense is you have to pick one. You have to pick a singular. If you are really concerned about being pc, say one. Though that doesn't always work, it does most of the time, I think.

    Just pick one and stick to it. Say hers, say his, say one's, just don't say their as it's wrong.
  18. Teheheman

    Teheheman Well-Known Member

    I usually say it in the context of the stuff being plural. Their is just easier on me because if I say here's hers stuff, I look like an idiot. I just say their because it makes more sense. I one time asked this couple 'How are you guys doing?' and this lady gave me the weirdest look, she said "Did you just say you guys?" and telling me that she wasn't a guy, that I should have said how are you 2 doing? or how are you doing or something like that. But, as far as personal preference, I don't care one way or the other.

    Daniel
  19. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Ugh, well you can't please everybody! I personally don't mind hearing "you guys".

    It just bothers me that saying "his" is the standard in all the textbooks etc. While saying "her" is wrong because the person's not female.
  20. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets New Member

    Their is really only suppost to be used in the plural form, meaning more then one. If you talking and man, you say his, if it's a woman, you use her. It you're talking about no gender in spicific, you say his or her. I admit I've used their to mean one person before.

    You're really suppost to say May I, But I say can I, But somtimes you get a response back of "I don't know, Can you?":D


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