Their last post

Sorry, this must be the wrong place to ask this forum related question.
For me as a non English speaker, what does it mean “their last post was…” and not his or her last post was?
Is this the correct way to write it in English without trying to discriminate someone, or is it some kind of plural majestatis (majestic plural)?

Yes, it’s a common-gender possessive adjective. This page on Merriam-Webster goes into a bit more detail about how the English language “lacks a common-gender third person singular pronoun that can be used to refer to indefinite pronouns (such as everyone, anyone, someone ). Writers and speakers have supplied this lack by using the plural pronouns.”


and not to be confused with “there” (over where? they’re over there).


their last post was over there…

Thank you Daniel for explaining, this makes sense - still I came across “it” for the first time.

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This use of ‘their’ is horribly discordant for discerning English speakers. If users were asked to give their sex when registering, ‘his last post’ or ‘her last post’ could be used.

Traditionally, ‘his’ was all embracing (and used to be used for the neuter pronoun ‘it’ as well as for ‘he’) and in all cases ‘his last post’ would have been used. Some ‘feminists’ (or alas, those supposedly acting on behalf of women) came to object to this, even though it wasn’t discriminatory (‘man’ was once applied to either sex - effectively meaning ‘person’- so words like fireman and fisherman shouldn’t really be objectionable).

I long ago suggested replacing their with the user’s name, but apparently that ship has sailed, and I have decided to let it go, as much as I wish things were different. Perhaps in England this is a bigger issue than elsewhere (not that it is not an issue for some elsewhere as well).

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The world and language continues to evolve. Using masculine pronouns and “mankind” to refer to women might be traditional but it doesn’t make it acceptable–anymore.
Same for binary pronouns. Not everyone feels they fall into one of the two gender groups and for now, they/them is the best alternative.

Giving up on traditions that make people feel excluded is a small price to pay. It’s the kind thing to do.


‘Acceptable’ doesn’t have any absolute meaning except for woke fascists who think they can tell everyone else what to think.

I’m never going to be told how I can and can’t refer to anyone else (and I’m certainly not going to refer to anyone as ‘they’). In Britain, before this madness spread from America, we had a magical system that enabled all kinds of people to get on well. It was called good manners.


If we’re to believe Wikipedia (and why not), the singular “they” has been around for hundreds of years and was introduced not that long after the plural “they”.

There are multiple forms of it and, pleb that I am, I plead guilty to having used all of them.

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I just found this today, it is funny: