subject and possessive agreement

by Susan
(Maryland)

See this sentence:

"First, ask the patient their name."

This is common usage, but "their" is plural and "patient" is singular.

Is the sentence correct and an exception to the rule?

Thanks
Susan

Comments for subject and possessive agreement

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Oct 17, 2011
Dual meaning of "their".
by: Anonymous

Their can be both singular and plural, since it is a possessive pronoun that can refer to either multiple subjects, or a subject that has no known gender. Since there is no gender given to the subject, it is correct.

Oct 13, 2011
Ola, where are you?
by: Susan

I'm still awaiting an answer from Ola.

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