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  1. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Using the spelling of the word their.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by DeadMoon, Jun 10, 2015.

    Is the correct usage using the spelling of the word their to describe something other the a person? something that is metaphoric?
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Metaphoric? I don't know about that, but, like, "the trees were dropping their leaves all over the ground"? I can't think of what other word to use there.

    The stars have lost their shine, the ocean has lost its waves;
    The bats that seek their rest cannot find their caves.

    (in case you couldn't tell, I wasn't quoting anyone there - just seeing if any other words popped into my head. They didn't. I think it's "their" or nothing.)
     
  3. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but 'their' would never be used to refer to a single person.
     
  4. J_Downloading
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    J_Downloading Member

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    I don't like their clothes.
    They're really bugging me.
    I'm going to go sit over there.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, they/their/them get used all the time as a singular, gender neutral stand in pronoun since English does not possess a dedicated one. All. The. Time. Some people just don't like it when it gets used that way, but to say it never gets used that way is erroneous.
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This possessive plural pronoun doesn't care if the possessor (or thing possessed) is a person or a non-person. That's not a factor that would change the pronoun. Examples have been given in prior posts.
     
  7. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    Apparently I'm not pedant enough to make myself clear. I meant 'should' rather than 'would', and it's improper All . The . Time. , no matter how often it's used that way.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    And yet every single last one of us is more than happy to use the word "you", originally the 2nd person PLURAL OBJECT pronoun, as a 2nd person SINGULAR SUBJECT pronoun. No twisted knickers. No wadded panties. Seems a bit random to me, aye, to make such a fuss over they-in-the-singular? We all know the original 2nd person SINGULAR SUBJECT and OBJECT pronouns (thou/thee/thy/thine) and the better-read amongst us even know how to correctly deploy them. But we don't deploy them. We don't.

    *looks at one hand, looks at the other hand, sees not a lick of difference in the paradigm*

    Regardless, the OP's question had nothing to do with the singular v. plural dynamic that was shoehorned in, but instead with grammatical gender* of nouns and pronouns and how this may or may not affect the spelling of pronouns.

    * In linguistics, grammatical gender has little to do with biological gender and instead refers to categories of items. These categories can be defined with a bewildering array of criteria. Many languages possess many grammatical genders denoting differences like things that are long, things that round, things that are eaten, things that are not eaten, things that are concrete, things that are conceptual, etc., along side the more commonly found masculine, feminine, neuter, personal and impersonal genders of I.E. languages.
     

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