Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Commonly Botched Idioms: To Each His Own

What people write: to each their own

Correct expression: to each his own

Meaning: each person has a right to his own opinions and beliefs

Quick rule:
  • 'Each' is singular, so the possessive pronoun must also be the singular 'his', rather than the plural 'their'.

  • You like reality TV shows and I hate them, so to each his own.


  1. Here's one I found myself mangling in an e-mail to staff (I left it just to learn if anyone was reading): "...this is another example of our division putting its money where its mouth has been!"

    it reads enough like the traditional version (put your money where your mouth is) to pass unnoticed unless you think about it for a sec., and then up pop all the weirdly suggestive connotations - surely someone else has also thought of this and been tickled by it too... destined to start trending?

  2. Wrong. "To each their own" is just as correct, as the "they" in question is singular, not plural.

    1. "They" is a plural term by nature. "Each" is singular. They don't play well together. If you start with "each," you must continue with either "his"or "her" in order to maintain continuity in the sentence.
      There is no such thing as a "singular they."
      The same applies with the pronouns "anyone," "everyone," someone," etc. Because they refer to each member of the group as an individual, they are singular, and must be paired with "his" or "her," rather than "they."

    2. They gets used as a singular term these days because just saying his is politically incorrect, and saying his or her does things to the flow of a sentence that the most vicious sexual predator would hesitate to do to a victim.

    3. The word they has and will always be plural, using the whole "these days" excuse is inadequate when talking about language because it misconstrues the original connotation of those words. I'm not saying someone can't use it as a pronoun, I'm only saying that in the connotation of this phrase there is no reason to use the word they as it denotes the actual meaning of the sentence.

  3. Wrong. "To each their own" is just as correct, as the "they" in question is singular, not plural.

  4. Its been pretty important for the students to put around every sufficient details and concerning piece of ideas to the extent of the details as mentioned.

  5. Gender neutral singular = they

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