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Referring to animals with its/his/her?



 
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Referring to animals with its/his/her? #1 (permalink) Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:06 am   Referring to animals with its/his/her?
 

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #221 "Articles (2)", question 5

I have ......... dog. His name is Ben.

(a) a
(b) an
(c) the
(d) (none)

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #221 "Articles (2)", answer 5

I have a dog. His name is Ben.

Correct answer: (a) a
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Why is it that sometimes when people refer to animals, they use either "its" or "his/her"? Can we use the latter to refer to animals?
Dinanrodrig
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Referring to animals with its/his/her? #2 (permalink) Fri Aug 20, 2010 13:51 pm   Referring to animals with its/his/her?
 

When I was a child, our Language Arts teachers told us NOT to use 'its' because animals are not humans and he/she refers to humans.
However, nowadays, people do use he/she to describe their pets because they are male/females. Both are fine.
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Referring to animals with its/his/her? #3 (permalink) Fri Aug 20, 2010 17:36 pm   Referring to animals with its/his/her?
 

Ok, I understand, but oral English isn't the same as written English. As a teacher can I teach my students to use "his/her" when referring to animals? Is it gramatically correct?
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Referring to animals with its/his/her? #4 (permalink) Fri Aug 20, 2010 17:38 pm   Referring to animals with its/his/her?
 

And another thing, if I may... I've come upon some texts where "her" is used when referring to boats or airplanes. What's the story behind this? I'd much appreciate an explanation.
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Referring to animals with its/his/her? #5 (permalink) Fri Aug 20, 2010 17:43 pm   Referring to animals with its/his/her?
 

This is just my anecdotal input from a native speaker's perspective.
In English, "her" is often used by men to describe cars, boats, airplanes etc.
I'm not sure why this is.
Maybe Alan can shed some light on this?
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Referring to animals with its/his/her? #6 (permalink) Fri Aug 20, 2010 18:28 pm   Referring to animals with its/his/her?
 

Thanks for your time.
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Referring to animals with its/his/her? #7 (permalink) Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:26 am   Referring to animals with its/his/her?
 

Why "the" is not correct?

Because i think Ben is the specified dog.

Please explain to me,thank you.
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Referring to animals with its/his/her? #8 (permalink) Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:19 am   Referring to animals with its/his/her?
 

I have a dog (unspecified) - there is more than one dog in the world.
His name is Ben (specified).

The dog's name is Ben.
A dog is often given a name.
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Referring to animals with its/his/her? #9 (permalink) Sun Mar 24, 2013 18:59 pm   Referring to animals with its/his/her?
 

Curarpikt121 wrote:
Why "the" is not correct?

Because i think Ben is the specified dog.

Please explain to me,thank you.

"The" is also a correct answer, technically. It is context-dependent.

For example, "Yesterday, I saw a flyer imploring the whereabouts of a lost dog. I have the dog. His name is Ben."

It may be slightly unconventional, but it is otherwise logical.
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