Use "their" instead of "his/her"

Hi, please have a look at this:

For successful completion of this excercise, one must give his complete attention to the task at hand

=> One of the underlined phrases here is wrong, and the answer is “his”. I’m so confused about this. Some say we should use “their” instead of “his/her”, and some say vice versa. Now I don’t know who to believe (+_+)

By the way, what does “at hand” mean in this sentence?

Many thanks
Nessie.

  1. his/her is better. 2. ‘at hand’ = which (the task) he/she faces, IMO.

Thanks a lot, Haihao :slight_smile:

I’d also like to know some native speakers’ ideas

Now I don’t know who to believe (+_+)

Believe them all. Some prefer the prescriptive approach to grammar and others the descriptive. All, “his”, “his/her” and “their”, are used - the traditionalists prefer “his” in such contexts. You have to decide which you prefer in which context.

And “his/her” is for nit-picker’s usage. :slight_smile:

What about “one must give one’s complete attention to”?

I would agree with Barb here; “one” has its own possessive, “one’s”, which may explain why “his” is underlined. I would myself say “in hand”, rather than “at hand” (“in progress” or “to be done”); but perhaps other forms of English would use the latter.

It seems to be redundant in either case, since “this exercise” has already focused on “the task”. So you might say:

  1. For successful completion of this exercise, one must give it one’s complete attention.

Best wishes,

MrP

Other forms apart from?

And how about this?

For successful completion of this exercise, one must give it complete attention.