Grammatical person
"First person singular" redirects here. For other uses, see First Person Singular.
"First person plural" redirects here. For the book by Cameron West, see First Person Plural.
"Second person singular" redirects here. For the book by Sayed Kashua, see Second Person Singular.
"Third person singular" redirects here. For the movie by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, see Third Person Singular Number.
"Third person plural" redirects here. For the film directed by James Ricketson and starring Bryan Brown, see Third Person Plural.
For other uses, see Narrative mode.
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In linguistics, grammatical person is the grammatical distinction between deictic references to participant(s) in an event; typically the distinction is between the speaker (first person), the addressee (second person), and others (third person). First person includes the speaker (English: I, we, me, and us), second person is the person or people spoken to (English: you), and third person includes all that is not listed above (English: she, he, they, etc.) [1] Grammatical person typically defines a language's set of personal pronouns. It also frequently affects verbs, and sometimes nouns or possessive relationships.
Related classifications
Main article: Grammatical number
In Indo-European languages, first-, second-, and third-person pronouns are typically also marked for singular and plural forms, and sometimes dual form as well (grammatical number).
Inclusive/exclusive distinction
Main article: Clusivity
Some other languages use different classifying systems, especially in the plural pronouns. One frequently found difference not present in most Indo-European languages is a contrast between inclusive and exclusive "we": a distinction of first-person plural pronouns between including or excluding the addressee.
Main article: Honorifics (linguistics)
Many languages express person with different morphemes in order to distinguish degrees of formality and informality. A simple honorific system common among European languages is the T-V distinction. Some other languages have much more elaborate systems of formality that go well beyond the T-V distinction, and use many different pronouns and verb forms that express the speaker's relationship with the people they are addressing. Many Malayo-Polynesian languages, such as Javanese and Balinese, are well known for their complex systems of honorifics; Japanese, Korean and Chinese also have similar systems to a lesser extent.
Effect on verbs
In Romance languages such as Spanish, the grammatical person affects the verb conjugation.
In this image, each row represents person and number: first person, second-person informal and second-person formal and third person.
Columns represent tense (image: morning – past, noon – present, night – future).
In many languages, the verb takes a form dependent on the person of the subject and whether it is singular or plural. In English, this happens with the verb to be as follows:
Other verbs in English take the suffix -s to mark the present tense third person singular, excluding singular 'they'.
In many languages, such as French, the verb in any given tense takes a different suffix for any of the various combinations of person and number of the subject.
Additional persons
The grammar of some languages divide the semantic space into more than three persons. The extra categories may be termed fourth person, fifth person, etc. Such terms are not absolute but can refer depending on context to any of several phenomena.
Some Algonquian languages and Salishan languages divide the category of third person into two parts: proximate for a more topical third person, and obviative for a less topical third person.[2] The obviative is sometimes called the fourth person.
The term fourth person is also sometimes used for the category of indefinite or generic referents, which work like one in English phrases such as "one should be prepared" or people in people say that..., when the grammar treats them differently from ordinary third-person forms.[citation needed] The so-called "zero person"[3][4] in Finnish and related languages, in addition to passive voice may serve to leave the subject-referent open. Zero person subjects are sometimes translated as "one," but the problem with that is that English language constructions involving one, e.g. "One hopes that will not happen," are rare[citation needed] and could be considered expressive of an overly academic tone to the majority of people, while Finnish sentences like "Ei saa koskettaa" ("Not allowed to touch") are recognizable to and used by young children in both languages.
English pronouns in the nominative case
PronounPerson and numberGender
IFirst-person singular
weFirst-person plural
youSecond-person singular or second-person plural
heThird-person masculine singularmasculine
sheThird-person feminine singularfeminine
itThird-person neuter (and inanimate) singularneuter
oneThird-person gender-neutral singularcommon
theyThird-person plural or gender-neutral singularepicene
meFirst-person singular, dialectal Caribbean English and colloquial special uses
theeSecond-person singular, literary, dialectal Yorkshire, and occasional use by Quakers
allyuhSecond-person plural, many English-based creole languages, dialectal Caribbean English
unuSecond-person plural, many English-based creole languages, dialectal Caribbean English
y'allSecond-person plural, dialectal Southern American, Texan English, and African American English
yeSecond-person plural, dialectal Hiberno-English and Newfoundland English
yinzSecond-person plural, Scots, dialectal Scottish English, Pittsburgh English
you guysSecond-person plural, dialectal American English and Canadian English
you(r) lotSecond-person plural, dialectal British English
youseSecond-person plural, Australian English, many urban American dialects like New York City English and Chicago English, as well as Ottawa Valley English. Sporadic usage in some British English dialects, such as Mancunian.
yourseSecond-person plural, Scots, dialect Central Scottish Lowlands, Scouse, Cumbrian, Tyneside, Hiberno English.
usFirst-person plural subject, as in, us guys are going...
themThird-person plural subject, as in, them girls drove...
thouSecond-person singular informal subject
theeSecond-person singular informal object
yeSecond-person plural
See also
  1. ^ Hattum, Ton van (2006). "First, Second, Third Person: Grammatical Person". Ton van Hattum.
  2. ^ Harrigan, Atticus G.; Schmirler, Katherine; Arppe, Antti; Antonsen, Lene; Trosterud, Trond; Wolvengrey, Arok (2017-10-30). "Learning from the computational modelling of Plains Cree verbs". Morphology. Springer Nature. 27 (4): 565–598. doi​:​10.1007/s11525-017-9315-x​. ISSN 1871-5621.
  3. ^ Laitinen, Lea (2006). Helasvuo, Marja-Liisa; Campbell, Lyle (eds.). "0 person in Finnish: A grammatical resource for construing human evidence". Grammar from the Human Perspective: Case, space and person in Finnish. Amsterdam: Benjamins: 209–232.
  4. ^ Leinonen, Marja (1983). "Generic zero subjects in Finnish and Russian". Scando-Slavica. 29 (1): 143–161. doi​:​10.1080/00806768308600841​.
de Gaynesford, Robert Maximillian (2006). I: The Meaning of the First Person Term. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
External links
Look up grammatical person in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
"person", Grammatical Features Inventory, doi​:​10.15126/SMG.18/1.03
Last edited on 13 June 2021, at 06:23
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