The noun ‘life’ can function as both a singular and plural noun, depending on its context. When referring to the collective life that people share, such as in the case of a married couple or individuals living together, the appropriate phrase is ‘their life.’
On the other hand, when discussing the individual aspects of each person’s life, the correct phrase is ‘their lives.’ It is important to differentiate between the collective and individual perspectives when using these phrases.
By clarifying these distinctions, this article seeks to assist readers in using these phrases accurately and effectively.
Singular or Plural Usage
The noun ‘life’ can be treated as either singular or plural depending on its usage in a sentence.
When referring to the collective life that people might live together, such as a shared life between two individuals in a marriage or living in the same house, ‘their life’ is the correct form. In this case, ‘life’ is considered singular. For example, one might say, ‘They’re happy with their life together.’
However, when separating each person’s life into individual parts, ‘their lives’ is the appropriate form. This is considered the plural form of ‘life’. For instance, one might say, ‘Many people are happy with their lives.’ It is important to note that ‘lives’ does not require an apostrophe and is simply the plural form of ‘live’.
The correct form when referring to multiple lives being mentioned is ‘each other’s lives’. According to Google Ngram Viewer, ‘their lives’ is more commonly used than ‘their life’, indicating its grammatical correctness.
Collective vs Individual Perspective
From a broader perspective, the distinction between a shared existence and separate individual experiences is apparent. When using the phrase ‘their life,’ it implies a collective perspective where multiple individuals are seen as sharing a single life. In this case, the noun ‘life’ is treated as singular, and the verb conjugation reflects this.
On the other hand, when using the phrase ‘their lives,’ it signifies a more individualistic viewpoint, where each person’s life is considered separately. Here, the noun ‘lives’ is treated as plural, and the verb conjugation is adjusted accordingly.
The choice between ‘their life’ and ‘their lives’ depends on whether the focus is on the collective or individual perspective, which in turn affects the verb conjugation in the sentence.
Examples of Usage
Examples of usage can be found in various contexts to illustrate the distinction between a collective perspective and individual experiences in referring to multiple individuals’ existence.
When using the plural form ‘their lives,’ it emphasizes that each person has their own separate experiences and paths. For instance, one might say, ‘The Smiths are happy with their lives,’ indicating that each member of the Smith family is content with their individual circumstances.
On the other hand, when using the singular form ‘their life,’ it suggests a shared existence or a collective experience. For example, one might say, ‘They’re happy with their life together,’ implying that their happiness stems from their shared life or relationship.
Understanding the distinction between the plural and singular forms allows for accurate and nuanced communication, reflecting the collective or individual perspective of multiple individuals’ lives.
Commonly Used Form
A frequently employed expression in this context is the plural form, ‘their lives,’ which highlights the individual experiences and paths of multiple individuals.
This form is commonly used in proper grammar to accurately convey the separate lives of each person involved.
It is important to note that using the singular form, ‘their life,’ in this context would be a common mistake, as it implies a collective or shared life rather than individual experiences.
By using the plural form, we acknowledge and respect the distinct journeys and circumstances of each person.
Adhering to proper grammar rules ensures clarity and precision in communication, allowing for a more accurate representation of the subject matter.
Multiple Lives Mentioned
When referring to the experiences of multiple individuals, it is crucial to use the appropriate grammatical form that acknowledges the distinct paths and circumstances of each person.
In this case, when multiple lives are mentioned, it is correct to use the plural form ‘their lives.’ This emphasizes that each individual has their own separate experiences and journeys. The word ‘lives’ is the plural form of ‘life’ and does not require an apostrophe.
It is important to note that the possessive form of ‘their lives’ would be written as ‘each other’s lives’ when referring to the lives of multiple individuals. This distinction between the plural and possessive forms ensures clarity and accuracy when discussing the experiences of multiple individuals.