Lv 4
takkk asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 4 weeks ago

Native English speakers: his tea and their tea?

Do you feel any difference between these two?

(a) Everyone is having his/her tea.

(b) Everyone is having their tea.

Dennis Keene writes in his book that he feels the difference. In (a), he feels that isolated people are having tea separately. In (b), a group of people is having tea together, chatting. Do you agree with his idea?

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    I believe both are poor grammar. 'Everyone is having tea' would be better. The (b) that you quote, attempts to personalise the 'tea', by stating 'their' tea. That creates an alternative, after all who would ever say 'Everyone is having someone else's tea'? So, the 'their' is not required, as it is a given that 'they' are all having their own tea.

  • 3 weeks ago

    ‘His’ refers to a male and ‘her’ refers to a female. ‘Their’ refers to all. There isn’t a difference unless you mean more than one person and one is opposite sex to the other.

  • 3 weeks ago

    'Everyone is having his or her tea' is correct but clumsy, so 'everyone is having tea' would be preferable. His/her is used in documents, not in prose. 

    The word 'everyone' is singular, so it takes his or her. 'Everyone' is formed from every and 'one' and means every individual, singular. 

    Despite the way it is misused by many people these days, 'their' is still singular, not plural, so is incorrect in this instance. 

    Dennis Keene, whoever he is, should study grammar before writing books 

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    A group of , A crowd of, A gang of, a company of (soldiers), takes a singular verb.

    There was a crowd of people at the street corner.

    I agree.

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  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Of course there's a difference.

    Phrase A says that (s)he is not getting any tea because all the others are drinking/eating his/her portion

    or that (s)he has provided tea for all

    Source(s): dutch/NL
  • John P
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    To my mind, with a middle-class background in southern England, version B is the only possible version, no matter how the people you are talking about are situated.

    Await answers from others with different backgrounds.

  • Elaine
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Keene is right. In (a) you are thinking of separate individuals; in (b) you are thinking of an entire group as a single individual. 

  • 4 weeks ago

    I do agree with him.  While (a) is a bit stilted, it does imply a group of individuals, whereas (b) implies everyone is together. Not necessarily chatting, but, as one group of like minded people.

  • 4 weeks ago

    No, I don't agree with Keene, I think he's reading too much into the statements.  The reality is they mean exactly the same thing.

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