I have this sentence that intoduce a list of items:

Encountering a succession of person to observe how each one's way of thinking affects:
● his/her way to look at the world
● his ...
● his ...

I'm tempted to use "their" (as it is recommended in several post), but I do need to keep a clear individual focus, and thus to keep the "each one's". "Their way to look" should not be interpreted in a collective sense ("several people's ways to look" would ruin the meaning)

I want to say that "the way of thinking of a single person influences the way to look at the world of that particular person". (meaning 1)

I don't want to say: "the way of thinking of a single person encoutered influences* the way to look at the world* of all the person encountered". (meaning 2)

Using their seems to imply meaning 1 as well as the 2, while using his/her will clearly imply meaning 1 without risking any confusion with meaning 2.

Knowing that context, should I use "each one" with a list of items started with "their" or should I write "his/her way to look a the world" (and then keep only the his for the other items)?

1 Answer 1


Since all of your bullet points starts with a possessive pronoun, just move that up to the top line.

That means that you can use a longer phrase, because it's only used once.

Encountering a succession of people to observe how each one's way of thinking affects that individual's
● way of looking at the world
● ...
● ...

[I've made a couple of other small adjustments in the wording too.]

  • Thank you! That's interesting, but it sound like a bit like if it was each of the person of the encountered group that were looking at single individual.
    – JinSnow
    May 4, 2015 at 13:41
  • Er, no it doesn't. The that in "that individual" references the one in "each one". You could add say "that individual's own" if you are particularly concerned about it.
    – Andrew Leach
    May 4, 2015 at 13:45
  • I wonder if I could use "person" instead of "individual", since "person" has a warmer connotation than "individual" in several languages (french, Italian). What do you think?
    – JinSnow
    Oct 9, 2015 at 8:14

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