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?

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    Why not just "the national economy"? – The Photon Jun 2 at 5:16
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    @RubioRic I disagree with you. In this context, ‘to’ is acting as a preposition and not as an infinitive-marker. – Prince ßádhWoloski Jun 2 at 7:24
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    @Rubioric I would rather advise you to visit this link: english.stackexchange.com/questions/38964/how-to-use-to-v-ing – Prince ßádhWoloski Jun 2 at 9:02
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    @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”. – Prince ßádhWoloski Jun 2 at 10:12
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    "With a view to" is a set phrase. – Colin Fine Jun 7 at 20:44

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.

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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.

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Is anyone of them wrong????


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  • 1
    Not a detailed enough answer. Depending on what the speaker means, one of them may indeed be wrong. Is the speaker included in "our people" or not? This is a relevant question that needs asking before being able to say "yes" or "no". – Prime Mover Jun 8 at 8:46
  • With the context we're given (or the lack thereof), this answers the question. "Is the speaker included in "our people" or not?" Correct me if I'm wrong but the speaker being not included In our people doesn't make sense. – Mohamed Hamza Jun 8 at 14:34

"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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