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It would be ruinous if one of us dropped our phone in the river, so each of us put their phone in their bag and set them aside.

In the sentence above, is it incorrect to say "if one of us dropped his phone in the river" and "put their phones in their bags"?

  • This is a situation where 'singular their' sounds awful. I'd be tempted to use his gender-neutrally throughout. Or her if both actors are female. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 12 '17 at 20:58
  • By the way, what do you mean by "source novel"? If the source of the sentence is a novel, please give the actual title of the book and the name of the author. – sumelic Jul 12 '17 at 21:00
  • @Edwin: I think 'singular their' may sound awful because it's immediately preceded by 'singular our'. – Peter Shor Jul 12 '17 at 23:44
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    @Edwin: which is why some people use singular our there. – Peter Shor Jul 13 '17 at 13:30
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The subject "each of us" is singular, so if you use singular his the first time, you need to keep on using it:

It would be ruinous if one of us dropped his phone in the river, so each of us put his phone in his bag and set it aside.

And even if you use singular they, it should be:

... so each of us put their phone in their bag and set it aside.

or

... so each of us put their phone in their bag and we set them aside.

(So the original quote is wrong ... it appears that the author got singular and plural they confused.)

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