'The word pedants' top 10 | It's specific, not Pacific...' blog discussion.

edited 4 April 2011 at 12:13PM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
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  • BNTBNT Forumite
    2.8K Posts
    Seems a lot of things irritate you. I'll just take this example. Strictly, it is indeed ungrammatical. But what's the alternative? There are two, neither satisfactory. (I've just made an error - can anyone spot it?)

    EITHER "...at his own risk". Although it is conventional to use the masculine form to cover both genders (eg the word "man") it does imply in today's world that we've adopted Saudi driving rules.

    OR "... at his or her own risk." This is pedantic and cumbersome. Don't like it.

    So I would happily say "... at their own risk". It might not be strictly correct, but in my book it's good English.

    I'm not familiar with Saudi driving laws, but "at his own risk" sounds more normal' "their own risk" just jumps out as being wrong. If I something jumps out in that way, it detracts attention from the rest of what is being said. I do agree that "his or her" is cumbersome and unnecessary.

    I accept, as someone has pointed out that "you" was once plural/formal, but is now accepted as the singular form. I can see the same thing happening with "they/their". Language is not a constant.
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