Themself, themselves, theirself, or theirselves

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lilblu, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. lilblu Junior Member

    English
    I'm writing a reason as to why I was no longer needed as a caregiver. I'm having problems deciding on whether I should use themself, themselves, theirself, or theirselves. So I need to know which one is correct. Also, I need to know whether the sentence is worded ok or if there would be a better way to phrase it.

    1) The patient became able to take care of themself.
    2) The patient became able to take care of themselves.
    3) The patient became able to take care of theirself.
    4) The patient became able to take care of theirselves.


    I'm thinking number three is correct. But I don't know if I like the way it's worded. Since it's for a job application form, I'd like to spice it up a little.
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    There is just one person, so you would use himself or herself as appropriate: The patient became able to care for himself.

    To spice it up, you could say: Through my loving care and healing hands, the patient was able to walk again and has rejoined the circus.
     
  3. MilkyBarKid Senior Member

    British English
    You are talking about a specific patient, one for whom you were the caregiver, and hence, a person for whom, it would be expected, that you felt a warm compassion.

    To objectify and generalize this person into a 'them' - in the eyes of a potential employer - is to seem cold and callous.

    Your former patient was a male or female, and should be referred to as such:

    The patient became able to take care of himself.

    Now, it's a case of rewording the 'became able', which rather grates on the ears and sensibilities.
     
  4. boozer Senior Member

    Bulgaria
    Bulgarian
    Yes, indeed.

    Perhaps the following could be said? :
    The patient recovered sufficiently so as to be able to take care of himself/herself.
     
  5. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I tend to swoon when I hear "so as to" but it may be a personal affliction. :)
    The patient recovered enough to care for himself.
    The patient regained the ability to care for himself.
     
  6. lilblu Junior Member

    English
    :eek: Well don't I feel dumb. I always do that though. I always refer to a person as them or they rather than he or she. I wonder why I do that.

    Is there another term I can use in place of patient? I really don't like the word because when I think of a patient, I think of doctors. Do caregivers have patients? I just don't like it.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  7. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    You can simply say person, or the person in my care, or the person I was caring for.
     
  8. alfajor Senior Member

    Bs. As., Firenze, NYC
    el castellano argentino, italiano, English
    If you made the subject of the sentence plural, you could use themselves.

    Theirself/theirselves is not standard English. Neither is themself.
     

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