They, their 和 themselves 都可用作單數

當單數的人可能是男性或女性時,他們的代名詞可以使用主格的 he, he or she 或 they、所有格的 his, his or her 或 their 以及受格的 him, him or her 或 themselves。許多婦女不喜歡使用「雌雄莫辨」、不分性別的 he 來指人,她們往往使用 he or she, she or he 或者在口語中使用 they 來代替。例如:

  • Anyone can solve the problem if he tries. (如果大家都肯試試,任何人都能解決這問題) (正)
  • Anyone can solve the problem if he or she tries. (如果大家都肯試試,任何人都能解決這問題) (正) - 在書寫中,he or she 經常寫成 he/she 或 s/he。
  • Anyone can solve the problem if they try. (如果大家都肯試試,任何人都能解決這問題) (正)
  • Each person gave his opinion. (每個人都發表了意見) (正)
  • Each person gave his or her opinion. (每個人都發表了意見) (正) - 在書寫中,his or her 經常寫成 his/her。
  • Each person gave their opinion. (每個人都發表了意見) (正)
  • Each person must introduce themselves before performing. (每個人在表演之前必須先自我介紹) (正)

從上面例句可以看出,這樣的用法最常出現在 each, every, everyone (everybody), someone (somebody), anyone (anybody) 或 no one (nobody) 的句子中。它們雖然都接單數動詞,但除了在非常正式的演講或文章中,其後經常接複數代名詞。再來看下面的例句:

  • Each of them expressed their opinion. (他們每個人都發表了意見)
  • Has everyone finished their drinks/his or her drink? (每個人都把酒喝光了嗎?)
  • Someone’s stood you up, haven’t they? (有人放你鴿子,不是嗎?)

不過,要注意的是,everyone 或 everybody 僅能用來指人,其後絕不可接 of,而 every one 可以指每個人或每件事,其後通常接 of。例如:

  • Everyone in the class wants to take a day trip. (班上的每個人都想一日遊)
  • There are 30 students in the class and every one of them wants to go on a day trip. (這一班有 30 個學生,每個人都想一日遊)
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