Friday, January 19, 2024



  1. Definition:

    • Possessive Adjective - "Their" is a possessive adjective in English, used to denote ownership, association, or relation to people or entities referred to by a noun. It is the third-person plural possessive form, indicating that something belongs to or is associated with certain individuals or a group.
  2. Origin:

    • The word "their" comes from the Middle English "þeir," which was derived from the Old Norse "þeirra," the genitive form of "þeir" (they). This term replaced the Old English "hiera," which was the genitive form of "hīe" (they). The use of "their" to indicate possession by or association with multiple people has been a part of English since the Middle English period.
  3. Usage in a Sentence:

    • "Their house is at the end of the street."
    • "The students raised their hands to answer the question."
  4. Historical and Contemporary Usage:

    • Historically, "their" has been used as the possessive form for the third-person plural. In contemporary English, it is also increasingly used as a singular possessive adjective for gender-neutral or non-binary pronouns, reflecting evolving attitudes towards gender identity and inclusivity.
  5. Cultural Significance:

    • The usage of "their" as a singular possessive adjective is significant in discussions of gender identity and inclusivity in language. Its acceptance and use reflect a growing recognition and respect for non-binary and transgender individuals in society.
  6. Related Forms:

    • "They" (subject pronoun): Used to refer to multiple people or as a singular pronoun for a person whose gender is non-binary or unspecified.
    • "Them" (object pronoun): Used to refer to multiple people or as a singular pronoun in the object position.
    • "Theirs" (possessive pronoun): Used to refer to something belonging to or associated with them, especially when the noun is omitted.
    • "Themselves" (reflexive pronoun): Used for emphasis or to refer to the people previously mentioned as the object of a verb when they are also the subject.
  7. Etymology:

    • The development of "their" from Old Norse influences in Middle English to its current usage in modern English demonstrates the adaptability of language in response to cultural and social changes, particularly in the realm of gender identity and inclusivity.

"Their" is a fundamental possessive adjective in English, essential for indicating belongings or associations with multiple people, and increasingly used in a singular, gender-neutral context. Its role in grammar is crucial for clarity and inclusivity in both spoken and written communication.



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