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Which is the correct answer?

  1. Everybody likes flowers, don't they?
  2. Everybody likes flowers, doesn't he or she?

Please explain.

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  • 1
    I'd use the first one. – Void Jun 4 at 11:56
  • The explanation is that it's much simpler to use the all-purpose pronoun they than to specify he or she. – Kate Bunting Jun 4 at 12:06
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It's a tag question. If the subject is nobody, somebody, everybody, no one, someone or everyone, we use they in the tag.

Nobody asked for me, did they?

Nobody lives here, do they?

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  • Nicely answered, very concise – Brad Jun 11 at 6:00
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Everybody likes flowers, don't they? 😃 Right
Everybody likes flowers, doesn't he or she? Wrong

Explanation:

The word "Everybody" represents a group of many people.
The word "they" is used when talking about a group of many things.

The word "he" is used when talking about only one person.
The word "she" is used when talking about only one person.

One of the following two things is grammatically correct if and only if the other is grammatically correct:

  • Jack or Jill went down the the hill.
  • Jack went down the hill or Jill went down the hill.

One of the following two things is grammatically correct if and only if the other is grammatically correct:

  • "Jack or Jill" ✲ "went down the the hill".
  • ("Jack" ✲ "went down the hill") or ("Jill" ✲ "went down the hill").

The following two things have the same meaning:

  • A ✲ (X or Y)
  • (A ✲ X) or (A ✲ Y)

The following:

Everybody likes flowers, doesn't he or she?

is grammatically correct if and only if both of the following are grammatically correct:

Everybody likes flowers, doesn't he?
Everybody likes flowers, doesn't she?

The problem is that "she" refers to one person.
"Everybody" refers to many different people.

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