Grammatical Error on New “Apocalypto” Poster

The new Apocalypto poster boasts this slogan: No one can outrun their destiny.

To which Steven Greydanus responds,

Shouldn’t that be “No one can outrun HIS destiny”?

Other grammatical alternatives:
“No one can outrun destiny.”
“You can’t outrun your destiny.”

“People can’t outrun their destiny.”
“Outrunning destiny? Fuggetabbatit.”

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Anonymous


    Hilight of the text:

    “While your high-school English teacher may have told you not to use this construction [the singular “their”], it actually dates back to at least the 14th century, and was used by the following authors (among others) in addition to Jane Austen: Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, the King James Bible, The Spectator, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Frances Sheridan, Oliver Goldsmith, Henry Fielding, Maria Edgeworth, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, William Makepeace Thackeray, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot [Mary Anne Evans], Charles Dickens, Mrs. Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, John Ruskin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walt Whitman, George Bernard Shaw, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, W. H. Auden, Lord Dunsany, George Orwell, and C. S. Lewis.”

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Incidentally, Merriam-Webster‘s second definition of “their” is: “his or her : HIS, HER, ITS — used with an indefinite third person singular antecedent [anyone in their senses — W. H. Auden]”

  • Peter T Chattaway

    My first reaction was to think that it should say “one’s” instead of “their”. “His” presumes too much, gender-wise.

    But “their” seems to be the new standard these days — I remember using it unconsciously in a university essay 10 or 11 years ago, and my prof remarking that he wasn’t entirely happy with it although he acknowledged it was the way things were going.

    I know Steve has taken issue with the pronunciation of “forte” as “for-tay”, and this seems like a similar objection; while he might be strictly accurate in a nit-picky, true-to-the-way-things-were-done-decades-ago kind of way (and I say this as one who bellyaches every time a writer hands me a story using the word “ironic” to mean “coincidental”, or “tragic” to mean “sad”), language is an evolving thing.

  • Chuck

    You’re just trying to get on the good side of all the anti-TNIV folks, aren’t you? ;-)

  • Michael Knepher

    It’s all part of my scheme to create a tipping point in favor of using “their” as a singular, gender-neutral possessive pronoun.

  • RC

    maybe it’s like mac…

    it should be think differently not think different.

    oh well.

    –RC of