- Neither of the twin brothers paid attention to their studies.
- Neither of the twin brothers paid attention to his studies.
I'm confused with the use of their or his in the above sentences. Are both correct? Please explain it to me. Thanks a lot.
Are both [sentences] correct?
Yes, both sentences are correct.
Please explain it to me.
As GoDucks was kind to reference, the singular they is an excellent way to sidestep the need to dive into gender politics to write a sentence. It even accomplishes this without excluding those of non-binary gender (such as intersex individuals) or dehumanizing the subject with words like it.
I'd say only this sentence is correct:
Neither of the twin brothers paid attention to his studies.
their is used when (a) gender is unknown, (b) gender is possibly fluid (e.g. a group that might have intersex individuals), or (c) more than one gender is represented (e.g. a co-ed class). This is a convenient replacement for the clumsy
his and her and respectfully recognises more than the binary male and female.
Since the sentence refers to twin boys, none of the above conditions apply, and there is really no reason to avoid the conventional