In the sentence "people like us never wash […] hands", should the pronoun be "our" or "their"?

  • 4
    People like us never wash their hands, (the subject is people, not we)
    – user66974
    Feb 7, 2016 at 19:39
  • 5
    Related: a man like you
    – Andrew Leach
    Feb 7, 2016 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


Either works. Grammar is correct. Meaning is slightly different.

People like us never wash their hands

The speaker first includes himself by using 'us' then stands outside the group to use 'their'. This is grammatically fine, if logically dubious. The speaker is putting a little distance between himself and these unclean people at the end.

People like us never wash our hands

Still grammatically fine. Here the speaker adds no distance. The feel is almost conspiratorial. I almost expect an evil laugh at the end.


  • The second option sounds very weird to me.
    – Lynn
    Feb 7, 2016 at 21:53

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