Them/Their – Con significados singular y neutro

aifustek032

Senior Member
Español (España)
En muchas ocasiones en textos en inglés veo que se utilizan pronombres como them o their en frases cuyo sujeto es singular. Ahora mismo no sabría poner ejemplos, pero muchas veces suelen aparecer en frases que hablan de una empresa u organización, ¿puede ser que se utilice la tercera persona del plural con sustantivos colectivos (equipo, comité, gobierno, enjambre, ejército, etc.)? Además, ha habido también veces en que me he encontrado frases comerciales como esta: Buy the person in your life a gift, and make them the happiest person in the world. Se supone que en esta frase se está hablando de una sola persona, sin embargo, se utiliza después el pronombre them, ¿creéis que tal vez se hace esto para evitar especificar si esa persona es hombre o mujer (and make him/her the happiest person in the world), ¿pueden utilizarse them o their como pronombres neutros en inglés?
 
  • jmx

    Senior Member
    Spain / Spanish
    Eso que comentas se llama el "singular they", hay bastantes discusiones en el foro sobre el tema, y lo normal es que los nativos no se pongan de acuerdo sobre si es un uso aceptable o 'condenable'. Incluso hay un artículo en la wikipedia sobre el tema.
     

    Rubns

    Senior Member
    Español - Spanish (Spain)
    Sí, se usa "them" o "their" con sustantivos colectivos, pero no siempre, es una cuestión de estilo. De hecho hay muchos hilos sobre este tema.

    En cuanto a la neutralidad de "them", mira esto, muy ilustrativo.

    A ver que nos dicen otros foreros.

    Edito: parece que jmx y yo hemos puesto lo mismo, jeje.
     

    aifustek032

    Senior Member
    Español (España)
    Sí, la verdad es que parece que se trata de eso, del Singular they. He estado investigando en Internet y, por lo visto, hay mucha discusión con respecto a esto.
     

    loudspeaker

    Senior Member
    British English
    En muchas ocasiones en textos en inglés veo que se utilizan pronombres como them o their en frases cuyo sujeto es singular. Ahora mismo no sabría poner ejemplos, pero muchas veces suelen aparecer en frases que hablan de una empresa u organización, ¿puede ser que se utilice la tercera persona del plural con sustantivos colectivos (equipo, comité, gobierno, enjambre, ejército, etc.)?
    Singular words which refer to groups of people (like family, choir, government, company, team, department, The BBC, committee, etc.) can be followed by a plural verb, especially in British English. It depends on how you perceive the noun, whether as a unit, or as a group of individuals.
    American English prefers the singular in some cases where British English prefers the plural. The difference is perhaps most striking when referring to sports teams.

    Spain (the football team) are among the favourites to win the World Cup. (BrE)
    Además, ha habido también veces en que me he encontrado frases comerciales como esta: Buy the person in your life a gift, and make them the happiest person in the world. Se supone que en esta frase se está hablando de una sola persona, sin embargo, se utiliza después el pronombre them, ¿creéis que tal vez se hace esto para evitar especificar si esa persona es hombre o mujer (and make him/her the happiest person in the world), ¿pueden utilizarse them o their como pronombres neutros en inglés?

    Gender-neutral language is now generally accepted in the UK, except by some conservative grammarians.
    For example:
    If anybody calls, take their name and ask them to call again later. :tick:
     

    klp5d

    New Member
    English - USA
    En muchas ocasiones en textos en inglés veo que se utilizan pronombres como them o their en frases cuyo sujeto es singular. Ahora mismo no sabría poner ejemplos, pero muchas veces suelen aparecer en frases que hablan de una empresa u organización, ¿puede ser que se utilice la tercera persona del plural con sustantivos colectivos (equipo, comité, gobierno, enjambre, ejército, etc.)? Además, ha habido también veces en que me he encontrado frases comerciales como esta: Buy the person in your life a gift, and make them the happiest person in the world. Se supone que en esta frase se está hablando de una sola persona, sin embargo, se utiliza después el pronombre them, ¿creéis que tal vez se hace esto para evitar especificar si esa persona es hombre o mujer (and make him/her the happiest person in the world), ¿pueden utilizarse them o their como pronombres neutros en inglés?
    You're right it should be "make him/her the happiest person in the world." This is what was grammatically correct when I was in school, but it seems the language is evolving. I am not sure if it has evolved to the point where it is grammatically correct today to use them/their. We may need an English teacher to chime in to let us know what is considered currently correct. I still want to say "Everyone put his book away" since everyone is singular. But is it acceptable today to say "Everyone put their book(s) away" In the US where I grew up I saw this change happen in the 80's. In the 70's this would have been absolutely incorrect. I have always attributed this evolution of language as a reflection of cultural changes in our society as a result of men and women becoming more equal (after the feminist movement).
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    You're right it should be "make him/her the happiest person in the world." This is what was grammatically correct when I was in school, but it seems the language is evolving. I am not sure if it has evolved to the point where it is grammatically correct today to use them/their. We may need an English teacher to chime in to let us know what is considered currently correct. I still want to say "Everyone put his book away" since everyone is singular. But is it acceptable today to say "Everyone put their book(s) away" In the US where I grew up I saw this change happen in the 80's. In the 70's this would have been absolutely incorrect. I have always attributed this evolution of language as a reflection of cultural changes in our society as a result of men and women becoming more equal (after the feminist movement).
    I was taught in school to say "his" in such cases, but my whole life I have often heard "their" in the same cases outside of the classroom. I have tried to use "his" in formal writing, when it was hard to rewrite in the plural, even though "their" often sounds more natural and less misleading than "his", but times are changing.

    This use of "they", "them", "their", and "theirs" for one (male or female) person is not really new since it has been around for centuries. Rather recently, in terms of centuries, it has been condemned as illogical and eschewed from formal contexts, but for the last few decades it has been allowed back in because of the social legitimacy of inclusive language and the flimsiness of the "logic" that condemns it.

    Unfortunately we still do not have agreement on what is "best" and different publishers have different standards re "they" vs. "he" vs. "he or she" vs. "he/she" vs. "(s)he" vs. "xe", etc.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    You're right it should be "make him/her the happiest person in the world." This is what was grammatically correct when I was in school, but it seems the language is evolving. I am not sure if it has evolved to the point where it is grammatically correct today to use them/their. We may need an English teacher to chime in to let us know what is considered currently correct. I still want to say "Everyone put his book away" since everyone is singular. But is it acceptable today to say "Everyone put their book(s) away" In the US where I grew up I saw this change happen in the 80's. In the 70's this would have been absolutely incorrect. I have always attributed this evolution of language as a reflection of cultural changes in our society as a result of men and women becoming more equal (after the feminist movement).
    I was taught in school to say "his" in such cases, but my whole life I have often heard "their" in the same cases outside of the classroom. I have tried to use "his" in formal writing, when it was hard to rewrite in the plural, even though "their" often sounds more natural and less misleading than "his", but times are changing.

    This use of "they", "them", "their", and "theirs" for one (male or female) person is not really new since it has been around for centuries. Rather recently, in terms of centuries, it has been condemned as illogical and eschewed from formal contexts, but for the last few decades it has been allowed back in because of the social legitimacy of inclusive language and the flimsiness of the "logic" that condemns it.

    Unfortunately we still do not have agreement on what is "best" and different publishers have different standards re "they" vs. "he" vs. "he or she" vs. "she or he" vs. "(s)he" vs. "xe", etc.
     
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