In their life/lives

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ash40, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Ash40 Member

    English - USA
    Everybody forges their own path based on the circumstances in their ______.

    life or lives?
     
  2. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Senior Member

    Cumbria, UK
    British English
    Oh, I like these little logic puzzles.:)
    "Everybody" is singular as I am sure you know, but English lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun that can be used with people, so we (well, the writer of your sentence and I, at least) use the plural "their" instead.

    Because the writer uses "their", the noun it modifies also has to be plural: lives.

    I am interested to see what other people have to say.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  3. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    I disagree. Not only is everybody singular, but their is standing in for the singular his/her:

    Everybody forges his/her own path based on the circumstances in his/her life.
     
  4. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    It's a mess, because you've already used the singular path, so I'd use the singular life.

    Also we don't forge paths; we forge swords.

    I'd start again, Ash.
     
  5. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    We also (figuratively) forge bonds, relationships, careers……
     

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