+0
Can anyone please tell me which of these sentences is better when talking about a group of people. Is sentence b grammatically correct?

a. Everyone has his/her book with him/her.
b. Everyone has their books with them.

Thanks!

Kat
+0
Sentence b is fine. "their" and "them" have been used with that function for centuries! Here they are used to mean "his or her" and "him or her".

CJ
Comments  
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
CalifJimSentence b is fine. "their" and "them" have been used with that function for centuries! Here they are used to mean "his or her" and "him or her".

CJ


Yes, that's what i thought. But i keep coming across his/her in such sentences so i was just wondering if this is grammatically better. Anyway, thanks CalifJim!

Kat
There was a time when English teachers insisted on "his" and "him" in such cases, explaining that "his" and "him" supposedly showed no gender in such cases.

That was before feminism.
In the early post-feminist era, the (politically correct) solution was "his or her" and "him or her".
Now the solution is closer to what people had been doing instinctively for years and years: "their" and "them".

CJ

Sometimes referencing both genders becomes terribly awkward. For example: "When talking to your top student, ask him or her if he or she would be willing to read his or her essay to the class." As a grammarian, I grit my teeth at sentences such as "...ask them if they would read their essay..." BUT, it is less cumbersome than the he/she stuff.

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?