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I find it complicated when addressing to a group. I'm pretty sure that when I use "people" it's plural and when I use "everyone" it's singular then. But I'm confused about the things that come after that.

Here's an example of mine:

1.) People, get your bag/s (assume each person only has one bag) and hit (a) rock/s (assume they all have to hit one rock, not as a team but individually) using your own burger/s! (assume each one has one burger)

2.) What if we change "people" to "everybody"? Would the answers be the same?

  • It's a vague area, since in the real world if you're telling multiple people collectively to do something, you're also simultaneously giving the instruction to each individual addressee. Most people would say Everybody raise your right hand (24 hits in Google Books), but I think it would be pedantic in the extreme to object to Everybody raise your right hands (that's 3 hits). – FumbleFingers Jun 11 '17 at 16:09
  • In colloquial usage, everyone and everybody is used with their, theirs. However, people is always plural. (no s in the verb). – Lambie Jun 11 '17 at 16:46
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1) People, get your bags (bags, because there are bags for each and every person) and hit [the rock / a rock] (it's not clear from the context whether they all should hit the same rock (the) or one/any rock (a); not rocks, as this would mean that they should hit several rocks) using your own burgers! (again, plural, as you are referring to a number of people with their burgers)

2) Everyone, get your bag and hit [the/a] rock using your own burger!

  • So, I should use a rock even though it would count to more than one rock when each one of them hit one rock. – Xyenz Jun 12 '17 at 5:26
  • I would say so, because otherwise it might be understood that everyone should hit several rocks. – serge.karalenka Jun 12 '17 at 16:19
  • Well, yeah, but if you don't it might be misunderstood they all just have to hit one rock, as a team not each one of them, when you mean the contrary. – Xyenz Jun 23 '17 at 15:56

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