His or Her vs Their

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What’s the difference between them?

His or Her

Meaning:

pronoun used to refer to a singular person whose gender is unknown or unspecified.

Examples:

1. His or her behavior was inappropriate.

2. His or her opinion was taken into consideration.

3. His or her success was an inspiration for others.

Their

Meaning:

their is a plural possessive pronoun used to indicate ownership or belonging.

Examples:

1. Their parents were very proud of their accomplishments.

2. They had their doubts about the plan.

3. Their house was filled with love and laughter.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

His or Her

1. Him or Her

2. He or She

3. His and Hers

4. Male or Female

5. Gentleman or Lady

1. Their

2. Neither

3. Opposite Sex

4. Different Person

5. Not One's Own

Their

1. Theirselves

2. Theirs

3. Possession

4. Belonging

5. Appropriation

1. Our

2. Yours

3. Its

4. Nobody's

5. Nobody else's

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "His or Her", "Their".

1. 'His or Her' refers to a single person.

2. 'Their' refers to multiple people.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

Learn the difference

Frequently asked questions

When should 'his or her' be used?

'His or her' should be used when referring to a singular person, whose gender is unknown or has not been specified. For example, if you are discussing a person whose gender you do not know, you could say 'He or she did this.'

When is the appropriate context for using 'their'?

'Their' should be used when referring to a group of people, or to a singular person whose gender is known or has been specified. For example, if you are discussing a group of people, you could say 'They did this.' Or if you know the gender of the person, you could say 'He or she did this, and their actions resulted in this.'

Do 'his or her' and 'their' share the same pronunciation?

No, the two words do not share the same pronunciation. 'His or her' is pronounced /hɪz ɔːr hɜː/, while 'their' is pronounced /ðeər/.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One common mistake is using 'their' when referring to a singular person whose gender is unknown or has not been specified. This should be avoided, as 'their' should only be used when referring to a group of people or a single person whose gender is known or has been specified. Another mistake is using 'his or her' when referring to a group of people. This should be avoided, as 'his or her' should only be used when referring to a singular person.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. Each student should bring ________ own notebook to class.

2. The teacher said that if anyone forgets the assignment, its ________ own responsibility.

3. Every person has the right to express ________ opinion freely.

4. The dogs wagged ________ tails excitedly.

5. If anyone needs assistance, they should ask ________ neighbor.

6. Every child is encouraged to do ________ best in the competition.

1. Each student should bring his or her own notebook to class.

Explanation: Each student is a singular noun, and the gender is unspecified, so the traditional way to refer to such a noun is using his or her.

2. The teacher said that if anyone forgets the assignment, its their own responsibility.

Explanation: Using their as a singular possessive pronoun has become widely accepted, especially in informal contexts and for gender-neutral references.

3. Every person has the right to express his or her opinion freely.

Explanation: Every person is singular, and since the gender is unspecified, his or her is a suitable choice.

4. The dogs wagged their tails excitedly.

Explanation: The dogs is plural, so their (a plural possessive pronoun) is appropriate to indicate possession.

5. If anyone needs assistance, they should ask their neighbor.

Explanation: Again, their is used as a singular possessive pronoun for gender-neutral references, which has become increasingly common in modern English.

6. Every child is encouraged to do his or her best in the competition.

Explanation: Every child is singular and gender-unspecified, making his or her the traditionally correct choice.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.