Is the “one’s” and “their” used correctly?

It is important that one’s decision of their own life is respected.


It is important that one’s decisions…

This uses one in its sense of a singular third person pronoun for statements that the speaker holds apply to all people. It uses it in the genitive, to talk about the decisions of such people.

It’s more often used in a rather formal register, and may seem stuffy to some.

All fine.

…of their own life…

This uses the “epicene their”. This is a use of their that refers to a single person in the third person, irrespective of gender. Starting from about 1795, there have been people complaining about this. However, it’s been defended for as long, and used by great writers for much longer.

Again, fine.

So, as to the two specific things you asked about, both are correct.

However, “…decision of their own life…” is unusual, both in the of and in the singular decision. It suggests perhaps one’s judgement of one’s own life’s story, though it probably means one’s several different decisions about what one should do in life. It does neither clearly. Hence “…decisions about their own life…” would be better.

Also, while both one’s and their are each okay as they are used here, the switching from one to the other is perhaps better avoided:

It is important that one’s decisions about one’s own life are respected.


It is important that someone’s decisions about their own life are respected.

Or to make the same statement in the third-person plural:

It is important that people’s decisions about their own lives are respected.

Source : Link , Question Author : Ashley , Answer Author : Jon Hanna

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