Which possessive determiner should I use for the authorities? Its seems wrong, but their doesn't seem quite right, either. Example:

After examining all the evidence, I've found that the authorities are right and _____ critics are wrong.

If either its or their sounds perfectly fine to you, please say so and I'll use it. (In the example above, the is also an option, but it would work less well in my actual construction.)

If both of them sound off to you, as they do to me, please say so as well and I'll probably use the noun government instead (although I really prefer authorities in my context).

  • "their" sounds fine.
    – Silenus
    Oct 22, 2016 at 2:06

1 Answer 1


Authorities is a plural noun, so you should use their:

The authorities are right and their critics are wrong.

Using authorities is fine, but if you choose to use government, it can be a singular noun or plural noun, so you can use its or their:

The government is right and its critics are wrong.

The government are right and their critics are wrong.

  • A singular government does make sense, but that also requires the verb to change: "the government is right and its critics are wrong." Subject/verb agreement is just as important as pronoun/antecedent agreement. Oct 28, 2016 at 21:31

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