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A recent discussion within the family asked whether it was correct to use the singular or plural form of an object that belonged to "them" when them was used to mean a group of people. The specific example was:

"I thought your Brownies might appreciate the attached worksheet that would help them achieve their Aviation badge"

The question was whether badge should be badges or not. For clarity, each Brownie is trying to achieve one Aviation badge.

One of the family went for badges, whilst another went for badge on the grounds that what the question setter really meant was "each of them". I responded that since he was using "them" he could justifiably uses "badges", but had he used "each of them" then "badge" would have been correct.

You will no doubt realise that it is my uncertainty with my response that is forcing me to post here. What is the correct answer to the question?

Regards,

Simon.

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The meaning is

"I thought your Brownies might appreciate the attached worksheet that would help each one of them to achieve their [individual] Aviation badge"

If there were a series of Aviation badges:

"I thought your Brownies might appreciate the attached worksheet that would help each one of them to achieve their [total of] Aviation badges."

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  • ...each one of them to achieve her Aviation badge Dec 3, 2021 at 15:06

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