I read in a book the following sentence:
"…It is a unique robbery at mid-day: robbing a whole people [speaking about Palestinians]of his lands and his rights. "
Is it OK to use ‘his’ to refer to a certain people? I think it is an example of thinking in one’s mother tongue when writing/speaking in English?
What’s your opinion?
This is a fun one. We can look at the article “a” and treat “a whole people” as singular… or we can concentrate on “people”, which is plural.
I am on the side of treating the phrase as plural and, as such, coupling it with a plural pronoun to keep things proper:
…a whole people of their land and their rights…
Of course, it was Israel and Judah thousands of years ago, but that’s a bone I don’t want to pick right now. hehe
Yes, “their” is also ok- if “people” is to be dealt with as plural- but not “his”.
I think “its” is also ok if we are to deal with “people” in the same way we deal with “group, team, family, etc”.