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Thread: EN: anyone / someone + personal pronoun (he, she, his, her / they, their / one's)

  1. #1
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    EN: anyone / someone + personal pronoun (he, she, his, her / they, their / one's)

    Bonsoir,

    comment reprend-on le quantifieur "anyone" en anglais, lorsque l'on commence une nouvelle phrase par un possessif qui renvoie à cet "anyone" ? Par "his" ou par "one's"?

    Voici le contexte :
    Its fragile and delicate aspect affects the attitude of anyone who leafs through it. His / One's actions become more cautious; delicately, with his fingertips, he / one turns the pages.
    "Anyone who leafs through it" vient traduire "feuilleteur" en français (je ne pense pas qu'il y ait de terme exact, il faut une périphrase, non ?)

    Merci !
    "If I had a dollar each time someone mentioned the recession, I'd convert them to euros!" (from the Colbert Report)

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    Re: Anyone - his / one's ?

    I would say "anyone who leafs through it's actions become more..."

    But that is more spoken or casual English. The more formal phrasing you suggest sounds unnatural to me. I would tend to rephrase it using "you"

    Affects your attitude as you leaf through it. Your actions become ...
    Last edited by wildan1; 23rd May 2008 at 4:03 AM. Reason: typo

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    EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    Well, it's a presentation of an exposition - you may have to be less direct, don't you think?
    And about the more general grammar question?
    Thanks!

    Or should I use "you" as suggested... But we're talking about an expo, and I don't think one can address visitors in such a way... Any suggestions?
    Last edited by Maître Capello; 23rd January 2010 at 5:32 PM. Reason: Consecutive posts have been merged. Please use the "Edit" button instead of posting several posts in a row.
    "If I had a dollar each time someone mentioned the recession, I'd convert them to euros!" (from the Colbert Report)

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    Re: Anyone - his / one's ?

    I gave a longer answer but the system crashed..I haven't the heart to repeat it. Here's the short(er) one. Wildan1 has a point (long explanation passed over) but your whole text would need to be in the same style - I'd stick to what you're comfortable with. If you do that, you still have the problem that you're in a very contentious area (long explanation passed over) of English, where there is no correct answer and there will always be someone who thinks that what you have done is wrong. Personally I (and many other people) embrace this and use the neuter plural to complement "anyone", though it makes purists scream. But "one" is too "lourde" and "you" sounds odd if suddenly introduced. So I'd say "...anyone who leafs through it. Their actions..their fingertips..they turn.."

    I think "texture" is better than "aspect" for something you feel.
    Si vous avez du temps, veuillez corriger mes fautes de français s'il vous plaît.

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    Re: Anyone - his / one's ?

    Quote Originally Posted by clairet View Post
    Personally I (and many other people) embrace this and use the neuter plural to complement "anyone", though it makes purists scream.

    So I'd say "...anyone who leafs through it. Their actions..their fingertips..they turn.."

    I think "texture" is better than "aspect" for something you feel.
    Anyone who...their (Gasp!) I recognize that one hears this in conversation but I'm too much of a purist to encourage others to use this in formal/written language! Sorry.

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    Re: Anyone - his / one's ?

    Quote Originally Posted by wildan1 View Post
    Anyone who...their (Gasp!) I recognize that one hears this in conversation but I'm too much of a purist to encourage others to use this in formal/written language! Sorry.
    As I said, I respect this opinion but I don't share it. (I have similar internal gasps of horror to you when people use split infinitives but I have had to recognise that usage has moved on, even in formal texts, and stop "correcting" draft reports that I see.)
    Si vous avez du temps, veuillez corriger mes fautes de français s'il vous plaît.

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    Re: EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    I don't feel like using the "you". The plural sounds strange to me too... Once again, it's an expo. I still don't know if I should be using "one" instead of "he" and "his" ? "... anyone who leafs through it. One's actions become... ; one delicately..."
    "If I had a dollar each time someone mentioned the recession, I'd convert them to euros!" (from the Colbert Report)

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    Re: EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    Quote Originally Posted by Parigigi View Post
    I don't feel like using the "you". The plural sounds strange to me too... Once again, it's an expo. I still don't know if I should be using "one" instead of "he" and "his" ? "... anyone who leafs through it. One's actions become... ; one delicately..."
    With the context you just provided I now can see that you is too informal here.

    I think the parallel use of one...one is what doesn't work in English the way it does in French.

    We use "one" very sparingly in English! One "one" is plenty:

    Just leafing through it makes one instantly more cautious, etc.

    Or maybe better:

    Just leafing through it makes the reader...

    PS: "this is for an exhibit/show" (not "expo"),

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    EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    Ok, but here is the whole paragraph :
    Its fragile and delicate texture affects the attitude of anyone who leafs / leafing through it. His actions become more cautious; he delicately turns the pages, with just the tips of his fingers. We assume a change in his attitude, a change that would never have taken place had he been confronted to any other casual newspaper. Anyone skimming through it becomes aware of the uniqueness of the object he is holding, of a richness he could not have initially suspected in it.
    It goes on and on with this anonymous person leafing through, you see... The more this thread develops itself, the more I feel lost.

    Maybe I can immediately go for a plural : Its fragile and delicate texture affects the attitude of those who leaf through it. Their actions... they delicately... their fingers and so on.

    Yes, I'm going to stick with the plural - fed up!
    Last edited by Maître Capello; 23rd January 2010 at 7:00 PM. Reason: Consecutive posts have been merged. Please use the "Edit" button instead of posting several posts in a row.
    "If I had a dollar each time someone mentioned the recession, I'd convert them to euros!" (from the Colbert Report)

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    Re: EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    It's easily the plural form that you need here, purists be damned. The 'singular they' has been in use since Shakespeare four hundred years ago and is totally fine.

    The classic sentence that I always give when speaking about this to people is "If you see someone lying on the floor, call them an ambulance, put them in the recovery position, and check their pulse."

    The alternatives him/her, s/he and so on are vile. There is the choice to define the sex of the person yourself and select either him or her (as long as you are consistent in the sentence) but this is not advisable in these more egalitarian times and still sounds unnatural since the listener will expect to hear them.

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    Re: EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    Ok, so here it goes :

    Its fragile and delicate texture affects the attitude of anyone who leafs through it. Their actions become more cautious; they delicately turn the pages, with just the tips of their fingers. We assume a change in their attitude, a change that would never have taken place had they been confronted to any other casual newspaper. Anyone skimming through it becomes aware of the uniqueness of the object they are holding, of a richness they could not have initially suspected in it.

    Thanks A LOT!
    "If I had a dollar each time someone mentioned the recession, I'd convert them to euros!" (from the Colbert Report)

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    Re: EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    Quote Originally Posted by Parigigi View Post
    Ok, so here it goes :

    Its fragile and delicate texture affects the attitude of anyone who leafs through it. Their actions become more cautious; they delicately turn the pages, with just the tips of their fingers. We assume a change in their attitude, a change that would never have taken place had they been confronted to any other casual newspaper. Anyone skimming through it becomes aware of the uniqueness of the object they are holding, of a richness they could not have initially suspected in it.

    Thanks A LOT!
    You have too many things that they could refer to here to make your text very clear--Their actions? What actions does this sudden plural "they" refer to-- the texture and attitude? This is confusing and a bit jarring to read this way, in my opinion. You would be better off and have more readable text if you recast this without the French "on" in the back of your mind...

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    Re: EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    How does this sound, then ?
    They become more cautious, delicately turning the pages with just the tips of their fingers. We assume a change in their attitude, a change that would never have taken place had they been confronted to any other casual newspaper. Anyone skimming through it becomes aware of the uniqueness of the object they are holding, of a richness they could not have initially suspected in it.
    "If I had a dollar each time someone mentioned the recession, I'd convert them to euros!" (from the Colbert Report)

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    Re: EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    Hi again. You're certainly working at this! (as I said, unfortunately you've hit an area where it is impossible to get an English which satisfies everyone). I note that you are still using a "singular they" in "...their attitude", but I'm one of those who applauds! "...their attitudes..." would sound terribly precious (not a good thing in English!). However...

    (final comment I hope) I'm not sure what a casual newspaper is. Perhaps you mean "had they casually been reading a newspaper"?

    Otherwise fine.

    On the general principles, I fully agree with Tim...(and his example is convincing, I shall remember it).
    Si vous avez du temps, veuillez corriger mes fautes de français s'il vous plaît.

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    Re: EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    Quote Originally Posted by Parigigi View Post
    How does this sound, then ?
    They become more cautious, delicately turning the pages with just the tips of their fingers. We assume a change in their attitude, a change that would never have taken place had they been confronted to any other casual newspaper. Anyone skimming through it becomes aware of the uniqueness of the object they are holding, of a richness they could not have initially suspected in it.
    Make it more readable and less jarring by making the subject plural, and I think it all works better (sorry I didn't think of this possibility before!):

    Its fragile and delicate texture affects the attitude of all those anyone who leafs through it. Their actions become more cautious; they delicately turn the pages, with just the tips of their fingers. We assume a change in their attitude, a change that would never have taken place had they been confronted to any other casual newspaper. Anyone skimming through it becomes aware of the uniqueness of the object they are holding, of a richness they could not have initially suspected in it.

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    Re: EN: Anyone + possessive pronoun - his / hers / one's

    That's what I finally did, in fact. Thanks Wildan!
    "If I had a dollar each time someone mentioned the recession, I'd convert them to euros!" (from the Colbert Report)

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