Either our or their which one of the two is correct in the following sentence?

Our people must work hard with a view to improving our/their national economy.

Is anyone of them wrong?

  • 4
    Why not just "the national economy"?
    – The Photon
    Jun 2, 2020 at 5:16
  • 3
    @RubioRic I disagree with you. In this context, ‘to’ is acting as a preposition and not as an infinitive-marker. Jun 2, 2020 at 7:24
  • 1
    @Rubioric I would rather advise you to visit this link: english.stackexchange.com/questions/38964/how-to-use-to-v-ing Jun 2, 2020 at 9:02
  • 2
    @Rubioric When ‘to’ depicts a tendency towards something it acts as a preposition, like in the sentence (with a view to). Another example where ‘to’ means the same: “looking forward to something”. Jun 2, 2020 at 10:12
  • 2
    "With a view to" is a set phrase.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 7, 2020 at 20:44

3 Answers 3


When "our" is used, it is implicit that the national economy of "our people" is actually shared by the writer.

When "their" is used, it is understood that while the writer identifies with the "people", he does not consider that he shares the same responsibility towards the "national economy" that he believes "our people" do. Which would be strange.

(I would also take issue with "with a view to", as it detaches the people from the end goal. "In order to" sounds more directed.)

However, consider the statement:

"Our people must work hard if they want to improve their homes."

Now the detachment of the writer is more clear: he does not need to improve his home, but he does appreciate that, in the main, if "our people" want to improve "their homes", it is up to them to work hard.

Contrast that with:

"Our people must work hard if we want to improve our homes."

in which the writer does include himself in the people he is discussing.


You want to stay parallel. If the sentence starts with our people, then the correct word would be our in the prepositional phrase at the end.

It would be possible to use "their" if the sentence was talking about another group that "our people" want to help.

For example:

Our people, the citizens of Happy City,must work hard with a view toward improving their economy--in Tired Town.


"Our people must work hard with a view to improving their national economy" would indicate to me that the speaker associates with "our people", but not with their national economy. Perhaps "our people" are consultants, who must work hard at their task of improving their clients' national economy. Another interpretation might be that a foreign overlord is speaking to a close associate.

Unless something like this is intended it should be "our national economy".

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