2

Example sentence:

I love when your dog just lets you sit there to pet them. You don’t necessarily know if they are enjoying it, but they love you enough to just sit there with you for a bit.

Is this correct? We assume the words "you" and "your" refer to the speaker of the sentence, and not to the listener, as second-person usually does. But it also refers to dog owners in general. I have always been curious about this.

3

It's correct, informal usage of the generic you, also called the indefinite you or the impersonal you.

Here's an example of recasting a sentence to avoid the impersonal you:

You can buy this book anywhere.

This book is on sale everywhere.

The pronoun 'one' more clearly refers to people in general. It may sound a little pretentious:

One can buy this book anywhere.

  • I think the person who wrote that entry for Urban Dictionary, a not very reliable source where terminology is concerned, was confusing the "royal you" with the royal we, see also here OR they were just being sarcastic. – Mari-Lou A May 20 '18 at 18:52
  • Ah you're right @Mari-LouA. I got started down this rabbit hole when one day I thought up the term royal you. As you surmised, I meant it pejoratively -- the impersonal you grates my ears, sounding almost as pretentious as the royal we. I was delighted to discover someone else (that urban-dictionary fellow) thinks of it that way, but alas the two of us do not have a trend yet. Better to remove the reference until we succeed. – Bob Stein May 20 '18 at 19:26
1

It's not technically incorrect, but it is a less formal usage. A more formal way to say it would be:

"I love it when one's dog just lets one sit there to pet them."

That is falling out of usage lately, especially in American English.

  • 2
    Yes - 'one's dog' sounds like it has to be a corgi. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 6 '13 at 20:07
  • 4
    @Edwin: I'm not sure Her Maj even uses the "royal we" any more - but supposing she does, wouldn't it have to be We love it when our dog lets us pet it? – FumbleFingers Mar 6 '13 at 20:13
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It doesn't sound right. It could be taken as you are stating that sentence to someone you're observing as their dog sits in their lap...etc...

I think you should say... "I love when my dog just lets me sit there to pet him. You don’t necessarily know if he is enjoying it, but he loves me enough to just sit there with me for a bit."

OR

"Don't you love it when your dog just lets you sit there to pet him ? You don't necessarily know if he is enjoying it, but he loves you enough to just sit there with you for a bit."

-1

I love when your dog just lets you sit there to pet them

This cannot be correct, as them refers to at least two dogs.

I love it when your dog just lets you sit there to pet it.

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