spot the error in this sentence


Everybody should carry his/her own luggages

asked Oct 11 '12 at 16:45 Hari Prasath New member

2 answers


Do we get an A if we pass this test?


(1) "luggages" should be "luggage". Luggage is a collective or mass noun and does not take a separate plural form.


(2) "his/her" is stylistically a poor choice for avoiding sexist language. A better choice would be to make the subject plural so the plural pronoun "their" can be used. All passengers should carry their own luggage.  


(3) Although most references say everyone and everybody are synonymous and can be used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference. The best choice for this sentence is everyone.  Everybody is best used when speaking of a collective group acting as a single body. Everyone is best used when speaking of (or to) all individuals within a group -- each one.


Did I pass?

link answered Oct 11 '12 at 16:58 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow


Peter GuessOct 11 '12 at 17:02

add comment

Luggage is a non-countable noun; it has no plural inflection.


Everyone should carry their own luggage.


Note the use of the third-person, gender-neutral singular. This is one accepted way of avoiding ugly constructions such as his/her, he/she, (s)he, him/her, him or her, his or her, he or she, etc. The other way (and the best way) is to rephrase the sentence:


People should carry their own luggage.

link answered Oct 11 '12 at 17:01 Peter Guess Expert

I clicked the red button and found that Jeff had already said something very similar.

Peter GuessOct 11 '12 at 17:04

While the use of "their" as a gender-neutral singular is finding acceptance in Canada, it is facing increasing resistance in the United States. Garner's Modern American Usage strongly discourages it use and urges a rephrasing of the sentence. In the end, the usage of their may win out, but for now, its use is likely to scored as incorrect by standardized assessment testing and college entrance testing.

Jeff PribylOct 11 '12 at 18:07

In India, When the gender is not known or both genders are referred, it is suggested to use he/him/his.

Rahul GuptaOct 12 '12 at 03:46

That has long been considered the traditional rule. But it is sexist as it assume the male gender and does not consider the possibility that the female gender is appropriate. Over the past thirty years, there has been an concerted effort in the West to write in a gender neutral fashion. Here is an article from Marquette University about gender nuetral writing --

Jeff PribylOct 12 '12 at 17:03

add comment

Your answer

Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.