1. Neither of the twin brothers took their books.
  2. Neither of the twin brothers took his book.

Which is most suitable?


I'm assuming that you mean neither brother took his own book. In this case, his book is the correct usage. Their books is idiomatic and should be avoided.

Neither of the twin brothers took their books would be correct if the books were jointly owned, but it requires some context to make this clear. If this were the case, it would be better to say neither of the twin brothers took the books.

Confusion arises because people wrongly assume that the indefinite pronoun neither is plural, and so the error is made.

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  • I've struggled a bit with this. Hopefully, I've got it right. – Mick Sep 25 '16 at 6:50
  • Presumably, if the twins were brother and sister, one would have to say: "Neither of the twins took their books". – Ronald Sole Sep 25 '16 at 11:32

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