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Which of the following is correct-

  • Keep those smiles to yourself

or

  • Keep those smiles to yourselves

When referring to more than one person

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2  
You can address a plural audience in the singular, of course: 'Mind you don't cut yourself' could certainly be said when addressing a class of young craft students. It's the 'individual/personal touch'. But you'd probably use 'Keep that smile to yourself' here, and the plural would probably be preferable with this example in any case: the hedged plural admonition. –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 26 at 16:15
    
@EdwinAshworth - I tried googling a number of variants of hedged (plural) admonitions and found nothing. Is there a different term for this? –  medica Apr 26 at 16:42
    
@EdwinAshworth good point –  Anirudh Apr 26 at 16:50
1  
@medica It's not a compound! Hedged = put/said in a more polite / less abrasive / more acceptable way (using accepted ways of phrasing, tone etc). Addressing the congregation rather than Fred about their drinking habits is usually kinder. –  Edwin Ashworth Apr 26 at 16:53
    
@EdwinAshworth - ah, I should have known.:( This was just a more learned comment, so to speak. Makes sense, thanks very much! (smiling to myself now...) –  medica Apr 26 at 16:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you're referring to the smiles of more than one person, then you are addressing more than one person.

In the event of a foreseeable danger to multiple persons, you would say

brace yourselves for impact...
prepare yourselves for freezing temperatures...
you will be exposing yourselves to high heat...

Similarly, keep those smiles to yourselves is something exasperated teachers might say to their students.

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Understood, Thank. –  Anirudh Apr 26 at 16:26

Yourselves would be the appropriate choice here since smiles is plural. If you were to refer to a single person's smile, you would then use yourself.

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Thank you Juan! –  Anirudh Apr 26 at 16:26
    
Or if one person were collecting multiple smiles, of course. –  dbmag9 Apr 26 at 16:49

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