Employees would be satisfied with their job(s)

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truthguy

Member
Chinese
Generally, do people say:

"Employees would be satisfied with their job" or "Employees would be satisfied with their jobs"?

Or both OK?

I'm confused with this because every one basically has only one job. But I'm not sure which one people are used to saying.
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    There might be a suggestion that 'their job' means they all have the same job. On the other hand, 'their jobs' might suggest each employee has more than one job. :D However, I think this could only become clear in context and they could basically mean the same, again depending on context.
     

    truthguy

    Member
    Chinese
    Thank you. How about in here "employees" means people of different jobs, by that I mean each one may have only one job or probably more than one, and for some of them the job is different from each other but some of them may have the same job? This sentence is just talking about a opinion about work satisfaction in a general way.

    I've made this so complicated... :confused:
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In many languages in cases where we talk about several people, each of whom has only one X, X is kept in the singular. Thus in French a teacher would say to a class the equivalent of 'get out your book', where each child had one book, even though many books would be taken out.

    In English we are more inclined to use the plural in such cases, to say 'get out your books', when each person has only one book, and 'employees would be satisfied with their jobs', where each employee has only one job.

    I'm not saying that the 'singular' version is badly wrong but I'd choose the 'plural' one.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Just to say that the plural would be my choice as well, though I would not at all be shocked to hear the first sentence... In this example the use of singular sounds a lot less awkward that it does in the example given by TT [though I have no idea why...]
     

    truthguy

    Member
    Chinese
    Thanks Thomas for your detailed explanation. However, I've also got confirmed from my native English speaker friends that they say a sentence like "most students enjoy having a trip after graduation" instead of "having trips". Is this phrase only an exception as a idiomatic usage or are there more rules?

    I'm really puzzled with the plural forms especially when they are in the position of objects. In our language(Chinese) it's so much simpler because we only use plural forms for words of human-beings....
     

    truthguy

    Member
    Chinese
    Yeah but do you mean " a lot less awkward" or " a lot awkward"....? Sorry but I somehow got confused by your comments.
    To answer your last question I think it's just a habit of speaking this language:) You hear all people around speak like that and you adapt to it
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Yeah but do you mean " a lot less awkward" or " a lot awkward"....? Sorry but I somehow got confused by your comments.
    To answer your last question I think it's just a habit of speaking this language:) You hear all people around speak like that and you adapt to it
    In your example the singular form sounds to me less awkward than in TT's example - a lot less awkward. But I do not know why... :) Ah, I think I know why :) - maybe because 'your' can be used both in the singular and the plural, which makes a sentence like 'Please take out your book.' sound as though you are talking to a single person, not a whole class. In other words, TT's example is a lot more likely to confuse than your first sentence! :)

    PS. If a teacher stood in front of my class and said 'Please take out your book.' I would surely wonder which one of us in particular he was talking to. If, however, I heard 'All employees will be happy with their job' I would immediately assume, unless proven wrong by context, that each employee had their own job - same as with your second option.
     
    Last edited:

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    We say all of the following, in BE, in my view:

    Each boy takes out his book.

    The boys take out their books.

    We each go on our way.
    We go our several ways.

    The students like to go on trips in the summer.
    The students like to go on a trip in the summer - this can sound like several students but one trip, ie. together.
    The students like going on trips in the summer - this sounds more like separate trips.

    Most students like going on a trip after graduation - could be together, could be separately.
    Most students like going on trips after graduation - most likely separately.
     

    truthguy

    Member
    Chinese
    In your example the singular form sounds to me less awkward than in TT's example - a lot less awkward. But I do not know why... :) Ah, I think I know why :) - maybe because 'your' can be used both in the singular and the plural, which makes a sentence like 'Please take out your book.' sound as though you are talking to a single person, not a whole class. In other words, TT's example is a lot more likely to confuse than your first sentence! :)

    PS. If a teacher stood in front of my class and said 'Please take out your book.' I would surely wonder which one of us in particular he was talking to. If, however, I heard 'All employees will be happy with their job' I would immediately assume, unless proven wrong by context, that each employee had their own job - same as with your second option.

    Got it. Sorry I made a mistake. I didn't realize you were comparing my example (job) with TT's example (book) in singular term. I had thought you were making the comparison within the two sentences about job and jobs before that. :rolleyes:
     

    truthguy

    Member
    Chinese
    We say all of the following, in BE, in my view:

    Each boy takes out his book.

    The boys take out their books.

    We each go on our way.
    We go our several ways.

    The students like to go on trips in the summer.
    The students like to go on a trip in the summer - this can sound like several students but one trip, ie. together.
    The students like going on trips in the summer - this sounds more like separate trips.

    Most students like going on a trip after graduation - could be together, could be separately.
    Most students like going on trips after graduation - most likely separately.
    Thanks. That's why sentences like the second last one used to confuse me.
     
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