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a. Anyone in this office lives on their wits.

Is (a) grammatically correct?

In such cases I use 'everyone', but maybe 'anyone' is more emphatic.

I heard this sentence in the movie: 'Glengarry Glen Ross':

Everyone in this office lives on his wits.

I think Pacino says 'his' in the movie, but the original sentence, which is in a play by the same name, has 'their'

The play is by David Mamet. It is very famous and you've probably heard of it. Anyway, you can check this link.

https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=%22anyone+in+this+office+lives%22&num=10

The second book you see is actually the play but when you click on the link you see that the page containing that sentence is not in the google sample of the book. That is why I didn't provide a link to the book. But on the link I provided you see the text of the book, and that sentence has been quoted in other books as well.

So that is a sentence in a play by David Mamet called 'Glengarry Glen Ross'. Now, the person who speaks that sentence is very angry, so maybe he doesn't speak correctly. Or maybe he is trying to be extremely emphatic. In any case, that's the sentence.

I just found a clip which contains that sentence on Youtube. The clip contains a lot of foul language and the movie was probably R-rated. Here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8y_ZWZGBCc&t=144s

To hear the sentence go to 2:20.

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    Why do you think it might not be?
    – nick012000
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 11:43
  • Thank you Nick. I just sounds odd to me, but I can find no logical reason to think it is incorrect.
    – azz
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 20:44
  • How about: "Anyone here works hard to make a living."?
    – azz
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 20:50

1 Answer 1

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It's correct.

The statement "Anyone in this office lives on his wits" is correct, though there is an implied "who works" after "anyone". The meaning is that anyone who works in this office, does so based on their ability to use their wits, and anyone who fails to do so does not deserve to work in the office. I'm not familiar with the movie in question, but you say that it was spoken in an angry fashion, so I would guess that it was spoken as a reprimand to someone in the office who had done something witless.

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