Consider the following:
- I pull my ear.
- He pulls his ear.
- She pulls her ear.
What would be the correct form of “ear” for plural subjects? Is there a generalized rule that I can be pointed to?
For example, they pull their ear just sounds wrong to me (do “they” collectively have an ear sitting around somewhere to pull?), leading me to think it should be they pull their ears. Similar is the case for, say, we pull our ear, but these plural forms can be misunderstood as pulling both ears.
Is the only solution here to recast the sentence to something more specific like “We each pull one of our ears?”
They pull their ears would be grammatically correct. However, it does not convey whether the theys pull one or two ears. (The possibility that they pull the ear or ears of someone else in the group is a third possibility, but so unlikely as to not be a real issue).
There are a number of ways to convey that only one ear per person is being pulled is
- They each pull their ear
- They pull an ear
- They each pull an ear