A bystander videotaped the police beating using their cell phone.

added by darinmex, 2011-02-12 19:53


linked by sacredceltic, 2011-03-20 01:16


linked by ondo, 2011-03-20 17:46


linked by Tximist, 2013-02-22 02:55


linked by Seael, 2015-02-18 11:05

Sentence #752985

A bystander videotaped the police beating using their cell phone.

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Ekstera ĉeestanto filmis per sia poŝtelefono la polican batadon.
Un passant a filmé la brutalité policière à l'aide de son téléphone portable.
Un viandante grabó en vídeo con un teléfono móvil la paliza de la policía.
En förbipasserande filmade polisens våld med sin mobiltelefon.
Ein unbeteiligter Zeuge filmte mit seinem Mobiltelefon die prügelnden Polizisten.


sacredceltic 2011-03-20 01:04 link permalink

using "HIS/HER cellphone" ?

Zifre 2011-03-20 01:08 link permalink

People sometimes say things like this when the gender is unknown. But this is one of those cases where it actually sounds a bit strange to me.

I think that, if I didn't know the gender in this case, I would just say "a cell phone".

sacredceltic 2011-03-20 01:14 link permalink

I know they do, however, I suggest this should be tagged as "popular" english or something, because it is grammatically incorrect.

Zifre 2011-03-20 01:20 link permalink

Nope. People have been doing this for centuries. English is a language that is defined by what people speak. There is no "authority" like with French and some other languages. So if everyone says it, it is correct.

The only reason this is considered "incorrect" (and certainly not grammatically, as it could refer to a different "they" in context) is because some prescriptivists decided they didn't like it...

sacredceltic 2011-03-20 01:35 link permalink

>English is a language that is defined by what people speak.

Yes it is very much and I'll remind you so in due time...

darinmex 2011-03-20 16:56 link permalink

In this sentence "his or her" would sound stange to me. Because of the problems of gender in the English language the use of "their" when the gender is unknown is common, though, as Sacredceltic points out, grammatically incorrect. I'll put a "non-standard grammar" tag on this one.

sacredceltic 2011-03-20 17:07 link permalink

thank you...

Zifre 2011-03-20 17:09 link permalink

> grammatically incorrect.

[citation needed]

Most style guides I have seen take an officially neutral position on this debate. And English is based on consensus, not voting or authority.

Zifre 2011-03-20 17:19 link permalink

Also, as I tried to say before, this is definitely not grammatically incorrect. However, it *can* be semantically incorrect, if you start with the assumptions that "their" refers to the bystander, and that "they" can't be singular.