outerwear

Hi,
“At the entrance, we are (being) greeted by robots who polish our shoes; the others take our outerwear to place them into a cloakroom.”

–Simple text, but should ‘outerwear’ take ‘it’ or the original is valid too, regarding outerwear being taken from many people?

I think you are right in your observation. ‘Outer-wear’ or inner-wear’ should be treated as singular and followed by ‘it’. But when we think of the outerwear of each of us, we look at it individually and tend to use the plural ‘them’. Look at this situation:
We have old furniture in this room. We have new furniture in the adjacent room. ‘They’ are adequate, but we need to arrange ‘them’ properly.

I would say this was definitely not written by a competent native English speaker.

The sentence requires correction:

At the entrance, we are greeted by robots. Some polish our shoes while others take our outerwear to a cloakroom.

‘being’ is incorrect.

Thank you, Bev, but you didn’t seem to notice the question: can outerwear be ‘they’?

You’re right. I missed the question as it wasn’t relevant to the example given once it was correctly recast.

Within the right contexts, being more specific about the type of outerwear (coats/jackets, etc.), ‘they’ and ‘them’ could be used.
The group took off their coats and hung them up in the cloakroom.
The coats were all hung on (a peg on) the back of the door, but they all fell off when someone opened the door.

As it is singular, the term ‘outerwear’ itself cannot be used with a plural pronoun and the examples given are not correct. Anglophile’s example is not correct in the same way. You can see the comparison of the two forms (singular and plural) used correctly in each of these:

He took our outerwear to place it in the cloakroom.
He took our coats and placed them in the cloakroom.
He took our outer garments and placed them in the cloakroom.

He took our outerwear and placed it on the hooks.
He took our coats and placed them on the hooks.
He took our outer garments and placed them on the hooks.

We have old furniture in one room and new furniture in the other. It is adequate, but we need to arrange it properly.
We have old pieces of furniture in one room and new pieces in the other. They match the decor of the individual rooms.

Both

and

seem to be at odds. In the first the implication is that both sets of furniture ‘need arranging properly.’

In the second it isn’t clear which set needs ‘arranging properly’.

Yes, Alan, we are sometimes confounded by our logical thoughts as well as grammatical requirements. Such situations might often warrant striking a balance between the two. Though it is odd to use an original uncountable noun as plural, when we consider the furniture in each room to be a separate single unit by itself, are we not thinking of each ‘one’ individually? Can’t we yield to a contextual necessity for more clarity? What could, then, be the solution except, of course, using a word like ‘set’?

If you look at the examples I gave you’ll find they don’t match the first so being ‘at odds’ is not a concern.

Do you think the entire original example is clear, because I don’t. It’s quite an odd statement.